Irvine police arrest 3 people in `transnational organized crime ring'

While Irvine is considered the safest city in the U.S., officials warn the Orange County city is not "immune" to criminal activity.

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Irvine police arrested three men from Chile accused of being part of an international organized crime ring carrying out residential burglaries, authorities said Saturday.

Officers were conducting surveillance at about 6:50 p.m. Friday in the Turtle Rock and Shady Canyon neighborhoods to address residential burglaries when they noticed a suspicious vehicle in a parking lot, according to the Irvine Police Department.

An officer conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle, which was occupied by three adult males, as it drove away.

"The men were not from the area and appeared to have no reason to be in Irvine," police said.

"Several items consistent with burglary tools were in the vehicle. In addition, the men were in possession of pet deterrent, shoe covers, gloves, and masks," the police department statement continued.

"Based on the totality of circumstances, the trio appeared to be casing the area to commit residential burglaries and were arrested for conspiracy to commit burglary, providing false information to a police officer, and possession of burglary tools."

The driver was identified as Julio Cordova-Martinez, 55, and the passengers were identified as Ricardo Navarete Loyola, 19, and Leopoldo Jara-Araya, 57.

They were booked at the Orange County Jail.

Anyone with information relevant to the investigation was asked to
contact Detective Ryan Nigg at, or 949-724-7183.

Based on the burglaries, police offer the following tips based on the recent burglary trends:

  • Get a security system that has cameras with activity alerts, so it starts recording right when there's motion.
  • When a stranger is at your door, talk to them through your camera or from behind the door so they know someone is home.
  • Take inventory of your valuables including serial numbers, receipts and photos.
Copyright CNS - City News Service
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