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The ringleaders of a group accused of stealing over $20,000 worth of baby formula entered guilty pleas for their criminal enterprise.
The Denver couple, dubbed the "Enfamil Bandits" by investigators, organized and recruited people to steal shopping carts full of baby formula, the Denver Post reports.
Tam Huynh, 46, and his wife, Thuy (Tien) Nguyen, 39, stole baby formula from local stores and sold the goods at discounted prices on the Internet.
Tam Huynh entered a plea guilty to racketeering. In general, racketeering involves obtaining or extorting money illegally or carrying on illegal business activities, usually by organized crime. A pattern of illegal activity carried out as part of an enterprise that is owned or controlled by those who are engaged in the illegal activity.
Thuy (Tien) Nguyen entered a guilty to conspiracy to commit theft. Typically, theft is a criminal act in which property belonging to another is taken without that person's consent.
According to officials, the Enfamil Bandits recruited some people to steal items and others to act as lookouts. The proceeds were used for daily living expenses, gambling and to buy illegal drugs, the DA's office said.
The couple and seven others were indicted after baby formula was stolen from area stores including Target, Safeway, Albertson's, King Soopers and Wal-Mart.
These days, baby formula, along with cigarettes and some cold medicines, are some of the most shoplifted items. As a result, by law some of them are kept secured under lock and key behind glass cabinets.
Investigators discovered the operation after Target reported many losses of formula to repeated thefts.
The couple will be sentenced May 3. Others indicted are at various stages of prosecution.