Maryland thieves connected to South American theft ring illegally in US: ICE

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Five Chilean nationals accused of burglarizing a Baltimore County, Maryland, residence last month and being linked to crimes in other states were all in the country illegally, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the United States.

On February 3, 2024, the Baltimore County Police Department arrested Gabriel Matamala-Ponce, 20; Thomas Cristosto-Araya, 21; Jorge Gatica-Vergara, 22 years old; Luis Oyanedel-Valenzuela, 23; and Gabriel Miranda-Gonzalez, 27, and charged them with attempted first-degree burglary and various other burglary-related offenses.

Officers were called to the 2300 block of Tufton Springs Lane around 6:45 p.m. that day for a burglary in progress, and quickly located the suspects fleeing the scene in a vehicle, before arresting them and taking them into custody. jail.

A follow-up investigation revealed that the five suspects were possibly linked to four other burglaries in the county, as well as crimes in North Carolina, Alabama and Oklahoma. They are also believed to be part of a network of flights in South America.

Maryland burglars linked to South American theft group linked to cases in several states: POLICE

Burglary suspects in Baltimore County

Police in Baltimore County, Maryland, have arrested five men suspected of being part of a South American thieves group. (Baltimore County Police Twitter)

ICE told Fox News Digital that Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Baltimore filed immigration detainers against all five people.

“ERO Baltimore is closely following the five individuals that Baltimore County Police arrested on February 3 for burglary,” said James Covington, spokesperson for ERO Baltimore. “All five individuals are Chilean nationals.”

ICE said Crisosto-Araya, Gatica-Vergara, Miranda-Gonzalez and Oyanedel-Valenzuela all entered the country legally as nonimmigrants but did not leave in accordance with the conditions of their admission.

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Immigration of ICE agents

June 2, 2022: ICE agents conduct a crackdown inside the United States. (Immigration and Customs Control)

The fifth individual, Matamala-Ponce, entered the United States illegally without being admitted by a U.S. immigration official, ICE said.

All five are also linked to crimes committed in other states.

The Orange County, North Carolina Sheriff's Office issued arrest warrants for Crisosto-Araya, Gatica-Vergara, Oyanedel-Valenzuela and Matamala-Ponce on February 28, 2024 for burglary of a residence.

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Miranda-Gonzalez was arrested by the Orange County, Florida Sheriff's Office on February 22, 2022 and charged with retail theft and paid a fine for this crime on April 22, 2022.

All five are being held in Baltimore County by an immigration detainer.

The detainees are filed against non-citizens who have been arrested for criminal activity.

In detention, ICE requires local and state law enforcement to notify them as soon as possible before releasing a non-citizen.


Detainees withhold the release of noncitizens for up to 48 hours beyond the time they would otherwise have been released, allowing the ERO to assume custody for purposes of deportation.


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