(MIAMI) — Authorities in South Florida have uncovered an alleged organized crime ring in which nearly a dozen suspects stalked wealthy residents, including New York Yankees star pitcher Aroldis Chapman, to steal millions of dollars’ worth of jewelry.
The discovery resulted from a long-term investigation into an alleged drug trafficking organization that handled large quantities of marijuana in the Miami area, according to an arrest affidavit filed in a Miami-Dade County court.
When one of the leaders of the organization, Xandi Garcia, was arrested in July 2018, investigators recovered two cell phones in his possession — one that had been “wiped clean” and another that contained “volumes” of information related to criminal activity that he and others within the organization were participating in, the court document states.
On that phone, authorities discovered evidence of several burglaries that had been committed by the organization as well as plans for several more burglaries, according to the affidavit. The planning included physical surveillance of the victims’ residences and monitoring of their Instagram accounts.
The suspects also used real-time GPS satellite tracking devices to know when their victims were home, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told reporters at a press conference Tuesday.
Among the victims were celebrity jeweler known as Eric The Jeweler, who had a safe full of luxury jewelry worth up to $1.7 million stolen from his hotel room on Feb. 2, the day Super 54 was hosted in Miami, and Chapman, ABC Miami affiliate WPLG reported.
Detectives learned from an anonymous source earlier this month that Garcia had tried to sell a custom-made ring that was in a safe to a jewelry store in downtown Miami, according to WPLG.
Garcia also allegedly monitored Chapman’s home in Davie, as well as his wife’s Instagram account, to conduct a burglary while they weren’t home, WPLG reported. That burglary never took place, but the suspects allegedly involved are still charged with conspiring to break into Chapman’s home.
Ten suspects have been arrested in the scheme on several charges, which include racketeering, burglary, grand theft, money laundering and trafficking of a controlled substance, according to the court documents. Garcia’s girlfriend, Maybel Sanchez, is accused of running one of his marijuana grow houses and receiving stolen jewelry and his mother, Mirta Lora, is accused of laundering money for the crime ring.
The loot obtained in the robberies included tens of thousands of dollars in cash, rare luxury watches and a Mercedes Benz, according to the affidavit. The alleged burglaries took place between June 2018 and as recently as this month.
They were “arrogant and bold and brash” in their schemes, Rundle said.
Garcia is currently in jail on separate charges, the Miami Herald reported. ABC News could not immediately reach an attorney for him, Sanchez or Lora.
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