STANWOOD — A Florida man faces federal charges in a conspiracy to transport over $430,000 worth of stolen king crab from Stanwood to Florida, according to charges filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
A federal grand jury indicted David Subil, 51, on three counts of interstate transportation of stolen property on March 1.
Subil has previous criminal convictions, with at least three past fraud schemes where he tried to profit off stolen shrimp and other massive shipments of food, according to an article by The Daily Beast, who first reported the unsealed charges.
The alleged cross-country crab heist began Jan. 3.
Multiple people claiming to represent Safeway contacted the owner of a California-based seafood distribution company called Arctic Seafoods, the charges say. A man who identified himself as Christopher Delgado sent the owner documents to open an account with Albertsons, the parent company of Safeway.
The Arctic Seafoods owner later received a purchase order from Delgado’s email for $432,000 of Russian king crab, and then another order from the same “Safeway buyer” for $296,388. Both orders were generated through Odoo, a business management software, making them seem legitimate, according to court documents.
But none of Delgado’s payments went through. Investigators believe Delgado was really Subil — and that he used other fake identities in emails setting up deals.
The crabs were stored at North Star Cold Storage, a Stanwood company that also ships frozen products. On Jan. 18, a trucker purportedly represented by “Jorge Trucking” picked up the first shipment — 600 cases of king crab.
On Jan. 20, the trucker picked up a second shipment from Stanwood. Six-hundred more cases of king crab legs and claws and 40 cases of opilio snow crab were loaded into a white Ryder truck, according to the complaint.
After the second order, the owner realized he overcharged the buyer and tried to contact the man he knew as Delgado by phone. The number didn’t work. He also tried to call other so-called Safeway associates, but that didn’t work either, court papers say.
The owner called the director of the seafood division at Albertsons. The director told him Delgado and his associates did not exist. The orders were fake, the director said. Arctic Seafoods was not even a vendor of Safeway.
On Jan. 23, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office learned of the fraud, according to the criminal complaint. A deputy recovered footage of the trucker picking up the crab from the storage building.
That same day, the Arctic Seafoods owner received another phone call from “Delgado.” The man requested a third truckload of crab — 12,000 pounds of king crab legs and claws totaling $432,000, according to the complaint. The owner advised a sheriff’s deputy about the order. The deal was scheduled for 8 a.m. Jan. 25. The sheriff’s office alerted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security about the impending purchase. Federal investigators took the case.
The owner loaded the truck with “product of lesser value,” according to court papers. The deputy arranged for unmarked vehicles for a stakeout. An employee at North Star Cold Storage was instructed to treat it like a normal transaction.
At 7:40 a.m., a white tractor-trailer with a Florida license plate arrived at the Stanwood facility, court records said. A man in a black hoodie, who looked to be the trucker from the previous shipments, signed off on the order.
The deputy asked the Washington State Patrol to run the truck’s registration number. It came up as invalid.
The deputies followed the trailer as it traveled south on I-5. After entering a truck stop and refueling, another person got in, court documents said. The truck continued south on I-5. Deputies noticed the “4” on the truck’s license plate had fallen off.
The semi entered a weigh station south of Everett. State troopers pulled it over for inspection. The occupants reported they were going to Portland, Oregon, to deliver the seafood to Albertsons, according to court documents. The trucker reportedly handed the troopers a receipt. It looked nothing like the original receipt reviewed by deputies at North Star Cold Storage.
The items in the load were described as 1,250 pounds of crab. The authentic receipt listed 10 times as much, detectives said.
Around 10:45 a.m., the truck left the weigh station. Shortly after, Snohomish County authorities pulled them over again, the complaint said. While the trucker did not want to talk to police, the passenger did, according to the documents. The man reported he and the trucker were out of money and badly needed work. After the deputies’ investigation, the trucker was booked into Snohomish County Jail on a charge of forgery. A few hours later, the driver posted bail.
Despite the third shipment never being completed, the man claiming to be Delgado contacted Arctic Seafoods on Jan. 27, seeking to set up another deal. A few days later, he sent a purchase order for $420,000 of crab, with the shipment scheduled to come from the same Stanwood facility.
Delgado later canceled the deal due to “truck problems,” the charges say.
On Feb. 2, a Florida customer contacted the Arctic Seafoods owner, saying he received an email from the founder of a Florida seafood company offering him product that looked like Arctic-brand crab, according to court documents. The crustaceans were priced well below market value.
Federal agents informed the Florida seafood owner that the crabs were stolen. He claimed he was unaware, and provided detectives with an invoice from Global Supply P&P, the company he bought the crabs from. The invoice was signed by a man named “David,” who had business cards printed with two phone numbers but no last name, federal prosecutors allege. A company logo on the card simply read: “Global,” above pictures of fish, shrimp and crab.
The Florida owner provided law enforcement with receipts of two wire transfers his company made with Global Supply P&P, both totaling $144,750.
Global Supply P&P was an active Florida company, created by David Subil in September 2020, according to court papers. Subil was also the registered owner of another company, Surf and Turf 2 You, created in May 2022. Both companies have an address listed at a UPS store in Miami.
Subil has an extensive history of theft and fraud in Florida, federal agents wrote, including second-degree grand theft, third-degree grand theft and “Fraud-Swindle.”
The Daily Beast’s article detailed several cases against Subil.
When he was 19, he and another man led police on a 6-mile car chase, with Subil reportedly trying to run over an officer. Five years later, Subil was arrested in a scheme using counterfeit checks to buy over $200,000 worth of cellphones.
In 2002, Subil was convicted of fraud after conning a company of $450,000 worth of meat. In 2006, in a separate case, he was ordered to reimburse a dozen different companies for $500,000 worth of stolen food.
In 2013, Subil adopted the aliases Rick Stevenson and Rick Acosta and tried to steal $60,000 worth of shrimp from a Fort Myers, Florida-based wholesaler, the article said. He was reportedly charged with six counts of wire fraud and two counts of bank fraud.
As investigators in the Stanwood case figured out Subil had been using the Delgado alias, the fourth crab shipment was rescheduled for Feb. 8. Law enforcement told Arctic Seafoods to load the truck with more filler. A GPS tracker was also placed on the back of the truck.
From North Star Cold Storage, the vehicle made its way to a warehouse in Oregon. Eight days later, the shipment arrived in Miami. On Feb. 18, the truck ended up at a dump site in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A federal agent took a photo of the shipment in trash. Detectives believe it was tossed once no crab was found inside.
That same day, Subil booked a flight for Colombia. Subil reportedly had no known connection to Colombia, and detectives believe the last-minute flight was an effort to escape authorities.
On Feb. 21, court records show Subil was arrested in south Florida.
As of Friday, a federal prison database listed Subil as no longer in custody.
Jonathan Tall: 425-339-3486; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @EDHJonTall
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