Ongoing investigation yields three more suspects, additional arrests expected.
Working with the San Jose Police Department, the FBI and IRS, sheriff’s detectives from the Burglary and Theft team made additional arrests pertaining to an international theft ring.
The SCV station’s connection involved several local pharmacies and grocery outlets, including Vons, Albertsons, Rite-Aid. Thousands of over-the-counter medications, hair care products, baby formula and men’s hygiene items were taken, some of them stolen in bulk from the retailers.
Detectives determined that large booster groups of Honduran Nationals had joined together in an organized retail theft ring. Those involved are suspected of several incidents of burglary and theft in the Santa Clarita Valley and were moving the product into Glendale, Sun Valley, up and down the California coast and even out of state.
The suspects would allegedly then repackage the items and sell the product to an organized criminal syndicate of Vietnamese nationals, who would re-sell the products at swap meets and other retail outlets. Detectives report that some of the products recovered in Glendale were apparently stolen out of state.
The first arrests by the SCV Sheriff's Station occurred on May 20 in Glendale where SCV detectives followed information to a public storage facility. Follow up investigation that same day led to the detention and arrest of three suspects and the recovery of more than $100,000 in U.S. currency in the purse of one of the female suspects. Through additional follow-up, SCV detectives served three search warrants on storage containers in the area, where they recovered a substantial quantity of over-the-counter medications and other evidence of the operation.
Facing felony charges of receiving stolen property are Los Angeles residents Carmen Garcia, 32, Juan Morales, 45, and Freddie Navarro, 28. All three suspects are still in custody. Suspect Garcia and Navarro are each being held in lieu of $300,000 bail. Suspect Morales is being held in lieu of $350,000 bail and has a hold from another police agency. These suspects also face potential Federal charges.
On June 4, SCV detectives searched three locations in the Sun Valley area where they arrested three additional suspects, recovered 2,300 individual pieces of retail products, and recovered more than $10,000 in U.S. currency.
Three Sun Valley residents were booked into the SCV station: Johanna Rodriguez, 28, faces potential felony charges of receiving stolen property. She also had a Federal warrant related to the case and is being held without bail. Mario Castaneda, 43, faces potential felony charges of receiving stolen property. He is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail. Evelin Cano, 28, faces potential misdemeanor charges of Resisting/Obstructing a Peace Officer. She is being held in lieu of $10,000 bail. Other agencies involved in the operation have made at least ten additional arrests.
The investigations are ongoing and additional arrests by the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station are likely.