Hal­ton po­lice help Aus­tralians halt al­leged Chilean crime syn­di­cate

The Hamilton Spectator - - Local - DAVID LEA

OAKVILLE — Hal­ton po­lice say they’ve as­sisted Aus­tralian au­thor­i­ties in smash­ing an al­leged Chilean crime syn­di­cate, which was pre­vi­ously ac­tive in Hal­ton and across the GTA.

The group first came to the at­ten­tion of Hal­ton po­lice in late 2017, when of­fi­cers be­gan notic­ing an in­crease in res­i­den­tial break-ins in the re­gion.

The sus­pects — which in­cluded both men and women — would break up into groups of two to four and ran­domly tar­get homes.

Po­lice said that one per­son would knock at the home’s front door to see if any­one was home.

“We es­ti­mate that ap­prox­i­mately 70 fam­i­lies have been vic­tim­ized by hav­ing their homes bro­ken into here in Hal­ton in the last cou­ple of months,” said Hal­ton po­lice Chief Stephen Tan­ner dur­ing an April 4, 2018, news con­fer­ence.

“Prob­a­bly close to 400 res­i­dences were vic­tim­ized across Toronto.”

A Hal­ton po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­sulted in four search war­rants be­ing ex­e­cuted in Mis­sis­sauga and Toronto in late March 2018.

Dur­ing these raids, po­lice made 15 ar­rests and re­cov­ered $2.7 mil­lion worth of prop­erty al­legedly stolen dur­ing the break-ins.

Po­lice said that all of those ar­rested were Chilean na­tion­als who came to Canada on tourist visas.

Det. Sgt. Paul Fo­ley said three of these sus­pects are be­ing held pend­ing trial, one is be­ing held pend­ing ex­tra­di­tion to New York City, six have been de­ported back to Chile and five are be­ing held pend­ing de­por­ta­tion.

He said that al­though 15 peo­ple be­ing ar­rested, there were still other mem­bers of this al­leged break-and-en­ter ring at large whom Hal­ton po­lice had is­sued ar­rest war­rants for.

It was dur­ing the course of in­ves­ti­gat­ing the where­abouts of these in­di­vid­u­als that Hal­ton po­lice dis­cov­ered so­cial me­dia posts that in­di­cated these peo­ple were now in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia.

“Out of cour­tesy to the Aus­tralian au­thor­i­ties, one of our in­ves­ti­ga­tors con­tacted them and ba­si­cally gave them the heads up. Made them aware of our project and our in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and in­formed them that we thought some of these in­di­vid­u­als were in their coun­try,” said Fo­ley. “They took it from there.” The Aus­tralian au­thor­i­ties ap­par­ently put the in­for­ma­tion from Hal­ton po­lice to good use.

Through­out Novem­ber and De­cem­ber 2018, the New South Wales po­lice made eight ar­rests in con­nec­tion with 80 break-ins to homes, which had taken place across Syd­ney dur­ing Septem­ber, Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber 2018.

Po­lice said that all those ar­rested are Chilean na­tion­als.

Aus­tralian me­dia re­ported that $1.2 mil­lion worth of lux­ury goods were stolen dur­ing these break-ins.

Aus­tralian po­lice al­leged that the group tar­geted homes and lux­ury stores in Syd­ney, and then sent the stolen goods to a man and woman in Mel­bourne — who would send the prod­ucts back to Chile.

“What they were do­ing there was al­most ex­actly what they were do­ing here,” said Fo­ley.

He said three of those ar­rested in Aus­tralia are wanted for crimes in Hal­ton. It is un­clear at this time if Hal­ton po­lice will seek to ex­tra­dite them.

Hal­ton po­lice deputy chief Nis­han Du­ra­iap­pah took to so­cial me­dia on Jan. 10 prais­ing the in­ter­na­tional co-op­er­a­tion, which led to the ar­rests of these sus­pects over­seas.

News of the ar­rests in Aus­tralia was also well-re­ceived by Fo­ley. “Ob­vi­ously, we are quite pleased,” he said.

It is un­clear if this al­leged syn­di­cate has now been fully dis­man­tled, or if it con­tin­ues to op­er­ate in other coun­tries.

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