Source: US State of California
SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced the arrests of and felony charges against Edgar Geovany Robles Morales, Isis Vasquez Villanueva, Jose Villatoro, Danny Louis Drago, and Michelle Renee Fowler for allegedly buying stolen goods and reselling them for profit. The arrests were the result of a joint investigation and subsequent operation by the Division of Law Enforcement’s White Collar Investigation Team, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office’s Crime Suppression Unit, the California Highway Patrol, and the San Francisco County District Attorney’s Office. On September 30, 2020, during a search and arrest warrant operation in the San Francisco Bay Area, agents seized and recovered approximately $8 million of stolen merchandise from retailers such as CVS, Target, and Walgreens, as well as $85,000 in U.S. currency from the suspects’ residences, warehouse, and storage facilities.
“Last Wednesday’s arrests are an example of what can be accomplished when law enforcement agencies partner together to address serious crimes impacting our communities,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Combining our officers, investigators and resources paid off. The arrested suspects will now face judgment before a court of law.”
The suspects are charged with criminal profiteering, money laundering, conspiracy to commit a felony, possession of stolen property, and organized retail theft. The San Mateo District Attorney filed charges against the suspects in the Superior Court of California in San Mateo County. Over the course of the investigation, which began in April, a major theft ring involving stolen property from burglaries and retail store thefts in the Bay Area was uncovered. The suspects allegedly transported, stored, and sold stolen goods in other countries and laundered the money back to the United States.
The Division of Law Enforcement’s White Collar Investigation Team (WCIT) tackles white collar crimes like those that can bankrupt companies, devastate families by depleting their life savings, or cost government agencies billions of dollars. Throughout this joint investigation, WCIT provided enforcement assistance, such as surveillance and serving search warrants.
If you believe you or someone you know has been the victim of fraud, you can learn more about what to do and report it here: https://oag.ca.gov/consumers.
It is important to note that every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.