Suspected members of global crime syndicate charged after break-ins spanning Quebec and Ontario
A man sits on a bench outside Montreal's courthouse on June 14, 2016 (CTV Montreal/Pedro Querido)
MONTREAL -- Five suspected members of a crime syndicate spanning Quebec and Ontario were arraigned via videoconference at the Montreal courthouse Friday on 11 counts including break and enter, theft and concealment.
The investigation dates back to early May and takes aim at criminal activities by suspected members of a so-called "South American theft group," as investigators have called them.
The groups allegedly send members to foreign countries, including Canada, as tourists, but once arrived they steal from homes and businesses.
Police say the suspects nabbed $200,000 in a "carefully planned theft" from a currency exchange office in Montreal's Cartierville neighbourhood in the overnight hours from May 2 to 3.
Montreal police worked with the Canada Border Services Agency to identify the suspects, who they believed may be linked to other robberies in Montreal.
On May 15, while Montreal police were on their tracks, the suspects headed for Ontario.
Montreal investigators informed their colleagues from the OPP and Peel Regional Police, who continued the investigation.
Two days later, Peel police caught seven people as they were breaking and entering into a building in Mississauga. Three of the suspects were arrested inside the building and one was found by police in the attic of the business.
The searches led to the seizure of burglary tools, a radio wave jammer, several thousand dollars in Canadian and American currency, false identification documents and one of the bags stolen on May 2 from the Cartierville exchange office.
The seven suspects are Mora Parada, Alba Rocha, Lopez Salazar, Serrato Luque, Reina Camelo, Gomez Millan and Rojas Rojas.
All seven are facing charges in Ontario for three break-ins committed in the Mississauga area on May 17 and are being detained there.
Among the seven suspects, five are also accused of two break-ins in Montreal on May 2 and April 15, 2019: Mora Parada, Alba Rocha, Lopez Salazar, Serrato Luque and Reina Camelo.