ARIZONA NEWS

More charges leveled against suspects linked to South American theft group crimes in Valley

Mar 20, 2024, 3:00 PM | Updated: 3:09 pm

Further South American Crime Group Announcements Pic for Danny...

From left to right: Grecia Romanduski Gaete Castillo, Sebastian Jesus Parraguez Soto, Sue Ellen Gutierrez Saez (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office photos)

(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office photos)

PHOENIX — Six suspects who have already been arrested and are linked to burglaries with South American theft groups are facing more charges, authorities announced Wednesday.

Three suspects were arrested last week in north Scottsdale in connection with a series of burglaries. Grecia Romanduski Gaete Castillo, 32, Sebastian Jesus Parraguez Soto, 23, and a 17-year-old boy now face charges of conspiracy to commit burglary and possession of burglary tools. The 17-year-old also faces one count of false reporting to law enforcement.

In a number of Phoenix burglaries, three other suspects arrested last month face more charges. Sue Ellen Gutierrez Saez, 20, Johan Salvo Alacon, 21, and David Carlos Rojas Ferrada, 22, were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit burglary, one count of attempted burglary, one count of possession of burglary tools and one count of forgery. Alacon also was charged with one count of resisting arrest.

What are the South American theft group suspects accused of in the Valley?

The Scottsdale suspects were arrested in the area of Pima Road between Jomax and Happy Valley roads. Castillo admitted to dropping off the other two suspects to commit burglaries upon her arrest.

The Phoenix suspects attempted to break into a home near 44th Street and Camelback Road on Feb. 16.

Surveillance was already in the area because of a recent burglary and the suspects were arrested soon after that.

How South American theft group suspects are coming to Valley

Mitchell has an idea of how suspects are getting to town.

Mitchell told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Wednesday that suspects have been using Los Angeles as a hub to enter the country and get fake identification before dispersing to other areas.

The three arrested in Scottsdale said they had been in California before making their way to the Valley.

Other suspects arrested recently have told metro Phoenix law enforcement that they’ve stayed in the country using fraudulent identification and overstayed visas.

“This is a group that is taking advantage of the relationship that certain countries in South America have with the United States so that they don’t have to have a lot of scrutiny coming in,” Mitchell said.

How is Mitchell keeping theft suspects off the streets?

Mitchell said she’s intentionally asking for high bond amounts as a message to suspects that Maricopa County is taking the incidents seriously.

All of the suspects arrested in cases in Scottsdale and Phoenix have had a $200,000 cash-only bond.

Mitchell said the same enforcement level isn’t happening in other parts of the country affected by the burglaries.

“It’s interesting when they get arrested and when they’re in front of the judge, they’re shocked that a bail amount is set here because they don’t have that over in California,” Mitchell said.

“Their failures there are affecting us here and we can do so much, but the reality is it is one country and people are moving into this country.”

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More charges leveled against suspects linked to South American theft group crimes in Valley