SAN MATEO COUNTY – Seven people have been arrested in connection with a Bay Area criminal syndicate linked to vehicle theft, gun trafficking, insurance fraud, money laundering and criminal profiteering, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.
The arrests were the culmination of a criminal probe that began in February. The suspects identified during the investigation played various roles within the criminal syndicate to obtain illicit funds from stolen or embezzled property, as well as established and operated a nonprofit organization to launder the illicit funds, San Mateo County Vehicle Theft Task Force Sgt. Sean Harper said in a news release Thursday night.
On Tuesday, agents from the Vehicle Theft Task Force, San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force and the San Mateo County Gang Intelligence Unit, along with other state and federal law enforcement agencies, served numerous search warrants at residences and businesses in San Mateo and San Francisco counties, Harper said.
Harper said agents arrested the suspects and seized more than 30 vehicles and motorcycles, over $30,000 in cash, five illegal firearms and more than $40,000 in stolen property. Agents also recovered large quantities of narcotics and marijuana, as well as documents associated with fraud and grand theft crimes, according to Harper.
Agents connected the criminal syndicate to a burglary and grand theft of a residence in San Mateo. The owner of the residence recently died and several suspects ultimately inhabited the home without the new owner’s knowledge, Harper said, adding that they used it as a stash location for narcotics, stolen property and firearms.
The suspects were booked into the Maguire Correctional Facility in Redwood City on charges including owning or operating a chop shop, burglary, insurance fraud and conspiracy.