Ninth person charged over $1.2 million international organised theft syndicate

Detectives have extradited a man from Victoria over his alleged role in a $1.2 million international organised theft syndicate.

In November 2018, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Robbery and Serious Crime Squad established Strike Force Merengue to investigate 80 aggravated break-ins across Sydney throughout September and October last year.

Inquiries led investigators to examine the activities of an organised theft syndicate, which also included shoplifting at designer stores and bag snatches across Sydney.

Eight people, all Chilean Nationals, have been charged during the investigation and remain before the courts.

A ninth man, aged 34, was arrested in Melbourne by Victoria Police for shoplifting offences on Tuesday 11 December 2018.

Following inquiries, strike force detectives travelled to Victoria on Tuesday (9 April 2019), where they were granted his extradition over allegedly attempting to send stolen goods overseas.

The 34-year-old Chilean National was escorted on a flight by detectives to Sydney and, with the assistance of the Australian Federal Police, he was taken to Mascot Police Station yesterday (Thursday 11 April 2019), where he was charged with two counts of knowingly deal with proceeds of crime.

Police will allege in court that the man was involved in the theft of luxury items from designer stores across Sydney before the items and cash were shipped overseas.

The man was refused bail to appear at Central Local Court today (Friday 12 April 2019).

NSW Police will also seek the extradition of a tenth Chilean National, a 65-year-old man, who was arrested at Melbourne Airport by Victoria Police on Sunday (7 April 2019), for theft offences.

Investigations under Strike Force Merengue continue, including liaising with Chilean authorities to locate the stolen items.

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Merengue investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.

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