San Jose: Gang-driven burglary crew busted, linked to over 200 Bay Area heists

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SAN JOSE — Authorities say they have arrested several members of a gang-based burglary crew investigators linked to over 200 cases centered in San Jose and spanning a number of Bay Area cities.

The gang crew, reportedly based out of East Palo Alto, was the subject of “Operation Cruz Control,” a year-long investigation spearheaded by financial-crimes detectives from the San Jose Police Department and came to involve nine other area police agencies.

Wednesday, a multi-agency law-enforcement team involving dozens of officers served search warrants at seven locations in East Palo Alto and one in Newark and arrested seven men, and are still looking to arrest two more, according to San Jose police. At least four others are being sought in connection with the operation but arrest warrants have not been issued for them.

The crew is tied to more than 200 burglaries dating back to 2015, primarily in San Jose but also in Milpitas, Redwood City, East Palo Alto, Daly City, Newark and other unspecified locations on the Peninsula.

According to San Jose police, the suspects drove high-end vehicles such as Porsches, BMW’s and Mercedes-Benzes, and stole firearms, cash, jewelry and electronics during the alleged crimes. When the search warrants were served, authorities seized an undisclosed amount of stolen property, cash, burglary tools and ski masks.

Five of the seven suspects in custody, men between the ages of 19 to 25, were booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail on suspicion of multiple burglary counts along with recommended gang enhancements. All are East Palo Alto residents: Ruben Ibarra-Nava, 22; Emerson Chavez, 19; Francisco “Frankie” Ledesma Aquilar, 25; Gilberto Cruz, 19; and Raul Cruz Jr., 20.

Two of the suspects, both from East Palo Alto, were already in jail when they were linked to the burglaries: Daniel Flores-Castaneda, 24, was already in Santa Clara County jail, and Jaime Magana, 25, was in San Mateo County jail.

Police are still seeking two more suspects: 22-year-old East Palo Alto resident Miguel Chipres-Magallon and 23-year-old Newark resident Gustavo Ayala Garcia Jr.

In all, 150 officers from 11 area police agencies participated in the raids: Police from San Jose, Milpitas, East Palo Alto, Redwood City, Daly City, Union City, and Newark; the Santa Clara County and San Mateo County sheriff’s offices; the San Mateo North County Regional SWAT Team; and the U.S. Postal Inspector.

Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.



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