Nine Arrested in Organized Retail Theft Operation

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GLENDALE (CNS) - A California Highway Patrol task force investigating an organized retail theft operation announced today the arrests of nine people and the combined recovery of nearly $200,000 in stolen merchandise and cash.

The arrests were the result of a three-month investigation by members of the CHP's Organized Retail Crime Task Force into a criminal operation known as the South American Theft Group, according to the CHP.

The criminal operation had been targeting several well-known retailers throughout California since March of 2021, the CHP reported.

On Monday, investigators from the CHP's Southern Division, with the assistance of investigators from CHP's Border Division, served search and arrest warrants at multiple locations throughout Southern California.

The investigators arrested the suspects and recovered merchandise estimated at nearly $135,000 in value, along with $62,000 in cash, the CHP reported.

Investigators also seized other items of evidence that may lead to other potential arrests, according to the CHP.

Information was released on the following arrestees:

-- Los Angeles residents Diego Soler, 31, Jesus Baron, 34, Monica Jimenez Moreno, 28, and Elkin Rico Ruiz, 22, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy, organized retail theft, grand theft, and receiving stolen property;

-- Luis Salcedo, 44, and Kevin Ramirez-Banol, 28, both of Los Angeles, and Christian Perez, 22, and Juan Samiento, 21, both of Hawthorne, were arrested on suspicion of receiving stolen property; and

-- Leobardo Leony, 58, of the San Bernardino County community of Bloomington, was also arrested on suspicion of conspiracy, organized retail theft, and receiving stolen property.

Since its creation in 2019, the CHP's ORCTF, in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies, has participated in 987 investigations, made 434 arrests, and assisted in the recovery of more than $20 million in merchandise.

Organized retail theft incidents may be reported to CHP online at:

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