Three members of a South American burglary ring were arrested by Moorpark and Thousand Oaks detectives on July 14 after a seven-week in-depth investigation. The arrests were connected to a residential burglary in Moorpark in late May 2021.
Moorpark’s Championship Hills neighborhood had suffered a rash of burglaries for 18 months when deputies answered a homeowner’s suspicious circumstances call to 911 on May 22. Realizing from details relayed by Sheriff’s dispatch that a burglary was in process, the deputies spotted a man they suspected was the driver for the burglars.
While talking to the man the deputies found evidence of a burglary and arrested him. Later that evening, deputies learned that over $100,000 of property had been stolen from a different home in the same neighborhood.
Suspecting the burglars were members of a South American theft group (SATG), Moorpark detectives asked for help from the Thousand Oaks Special Enforcement Unit, who are recognized experts in the investigation of SATG’s. Over the next seven weeks, the two detective teams conducted a joint investigation, utilizing a variety of different investigative tools and methods.
On the morning of Wednesday, July 14 the two detective teams, with help from detectives from the Thousand Oaks Directed Enforcement Unit, served three search warrants in the cities of Upland, Chino, and Walnut that resulted in the arrests of the three men responsible for the Moorpark burglary. Detectives also seized tens of thousands of dollars in stolen jewelry and other evidence connected to the burglary.
Brian Molina-Guzman and Christian Camilo-Sanchez of Colombia, and Ronald Pena Cancino, a naturalized U.S. Citizen originally from Colombia, have each been charged with first-degree residential burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, and possession of burglary tools. Molina-Guzman and Camilo-Sanchez are being held on $500,000 bail while Pena Cancino is being held on $300,000.00 bail.
South American theft groups, or SATG’s for short, are small teams of highly skilled criminals who come from several South American countries, including Chile and Colombia. Teams generally consist of three or four members with specific skills and responsibilities. The burglary rings commit residential and commercial burglaries as well as home invasion and business robberies using very specific methods in order to maximize success at their crimes and evade capture by law enforcement. In this case the alertness and the call to the police 911 played a mayor factor on resulting arrest of these individuals.