Woman extradited, and further charges laid against alleged organised theft syndicate, NSW

Detectives investigating the activities of an alleged international organised theft syndicate will extradite a woman from Victoria today.

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, October and November.

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

Eight members of the group, who are all Chilean Nationals, were arrested throughout November and December, which includes a 19-year-old woman and a 34-year-old man, who were arrested in Victoria.

Detectives travelled to Melbourne yesterday (Wednesday 9 January 2019) and applied for and were granted the woman’s extradition to NSW.

The woman will be escorted by strike force investigators on a flight to Sydney later today (Thursday 10 January 2018). It is expected she will be taken to Mascot Police Station and charged.

Today’s extradition follows further inquiries leading strike force detectives to lay an additional 65 charges against five members of the group last Friday (4 January 2019).

A 22-year-old man was charged with 19 counts of aggravated break, enter, and steal.

A 28-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman were each charged with 16 counts of aggravated break, enter, and steal.

They remain in custody and will next appear at Burwood Local Court on Wednesday 23 January 2019.

A 27-year-old man was charged with seven counts of aggravated break, enter, and steal, and participate in criminal group.

He remains in custody and will next appear at Central Local Court on Wednesday 23 January 2019.

A 23-year-old man was charged with five counts of aggravated break, enter, and steal, and participate in criminal group.

He remains in custody and will next appear at Central Local Court on Tuesday 22 January 2019.

Police will allege in court that new charges relate to a total of 33 aggravated break-ins across Sydney between September and November, where they stole jewellery, watches, and other luxury items, and cash, before shipping it overseas.

Investigations are continuing, which includes working 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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