A network of 10 people were arrested Tuesday after detectives discovered an alleged social media scam that targeted wealthy victims.
Investigators from multiple agencies called the case Operation Growing Pains, which lead to the arrest of this alleged racketeering enterprise that dealt with thousands of dollars in stolen goods, jewelry and cash.
Police say Xandi Garcia was the key person behind the organized crime operation. Garcia pleaded guilty for running a network of marijuana grow houses that led to an extensive drug trafficking operation.
“Everything from the victims social media posts to inside men. They would often place GPS tracking devices on the vehicles of their potential victims,” Miami Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said.
After Garcia’s arrest in 2018, detectives got a search warrant for his cell phone where they encountered key evidence on other crimes including alleged burglaries.
“There was a wealth of material that was related to the members of the organization. Information about prior burglaries that were alleged to have been committed,” Fernandez Rundle said.
In a separate case, 30-year-old Garcia was arrested on February 5th accused of breaking into a South Beach hotel room on Super Bowl Sunday. He allegedly stole a safe filled with expensive rings, necklaces and watches from a famous New York celebrity jeweler.
Investigators say they were tipped off when Garcia tried to sell at stolen custom ring at the Seybold Building in Downtown Miami.
Some of Tuesday’s arrests include Garcia’s girlfriend, Maybel Sanchez, his close friend Daniel Pacheco and his mother Mirta Lora, who is accused of money laundering for the operation.
One of their celebrity targets included Yankees pitcher Aroldis Champan, but the organized ring was not successful in breaking into his home.
The 10 individuals arrested are facing a multitude of charges, some which include grand theft, racketeering, burglary, conspiracies and drug trafficking.