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HomeNewsChileans Arrested in California Suburb Amid LAPD Crackdown on Transnational Crime Rings

Chileans Arrested in California Suburb Amid LAPD Crackdown on Transnational Crime Rings

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Chileans Arrested by the Police While Planning an Home Invasion
Source: Irvine Police Department/Facebook

Recently, the LAPD arrested several Chilean people in a California suburb. This arrest signifies that they are cracking down on crime that crosses borders. The three Chilean nationals were arrested in Irvine for their suspected involvement in an international burglary ring, as reported by the police. 

The individuals, Julio Cordova-Martinez, 55, Ricardo Navarete-Loyola, 19, and Leopoldo Jara-Araya, 57, were caught by authorities while allegedly planning burglaries in rich neighborhoods of California. 

The Irvine Police discovered a “suspicious vehicle” during a surveillance operation on Friday evening. The operation was part of their efforts to tackle a series of residential break-ins, as per ABC7. These home burglaries happened in Irvine, a low-crime area located in Orange County, approximately 40 miles south of Los Angeles.

Now, over 30 incidents have occurred in just as many days. However, only around seven of these are estimated to be linked to transnational criminal gangs. However, the issue is not limited to California alone. Similar crimes have been reported in states like Michigan, New Jersey, New York, etc.

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Chile’s inclusion in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program has facilitated these crimes. This program permits tourists and business travelers from participating countries to enter the United States for 90 days without needing a visa or undergoing rigorous screening.

According to the police, three people inside the vehicle “were not from the area and appeared to have no reason to be in Irvine.” When officers tried to pull over the vehicle, the driver sped off. After a car pursuit, the police managed to stop the car and conduct a search. Officers found burglary tools, items to deter pets, shoe covers, and masks inside the vehicle.

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Moreover, this discovery suggested that the men were scouting the neighborhood with unlawful intentions. “Based on the totality of circumstances, the trio appeared to be casing the area to commit residential burglaries and were arrested for conspiracy to commit burglary, providing false information to a police officer, and possession of burglary tools,” Irvine police said in a statement. 

The three men were placed under arrest and booked into Orange County Jail. They were charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, providing false information to law enforcement, and possession of burglary tools. 

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Authorities suspected that they were connected to a broader criminal syndicate responsible for a string of home invasions across Southern California. These organizations target homes for burglary and financial gain. A CBS News report suggested that the group’s actions had affected areas within Orange County.

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In response to this trend, the Los Angeles Police Department established a task force last week to confront these criminal groups. The majority of participants in these gangs originated from Chile. However,  law enforcement has also observed people from other South American countries, such as Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia, participating in these illicit activities.

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer has been alerting the public about this problem since at least summer. He described the burglaries as “carefully calculated and planned.” Recently, Spitzer took legal action against the Biden administration for not responding to public records requests regarding documentation on this issue.

Authorities are reaching out to the public for further information about these crimes. Community members who have information about these incidents or suspects are encouraged to contact Detective Ryan Nigg. He can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 949-724-7183.

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