Public Notices and Press Releases

Six Chilean Nationals Charged with Multi-State Residential Burglaries

Burglary Ring Targeted Homes in New Jersey, Maryland and New York, Stole Jewelry and Valuables

NEWARK, N.J. Six Chilean nationals have been charged for conspiring to target homeowners across multiple states in a series of residential burglaries, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

The accused, Flavio Bladimir Astete Castillo, Dareyen Mauricio Cortes-Canete, Luis Esteban Castillo Vivar, Max Vidal Navarrete, Jordán Estefano Contreras Vilches, and Juan Jose Ramirez Nilo, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to sell and receive stolen property that crossed state lines and one count of receiving stolen property that crossed state lines.

Six Chilean nationals have been charged with conspiring to target homeowners in residential burglaries across multiple states from New York to Maryland. The Complaint alleges that they conspired to receive and sell stolen pearl, gold and diamond jewelry, rare coins and other property that was stolen in those burglaries. Residential burglaries affect people in a very serious and personal way, and our office will continue to pursue criminals who are alleged to have violated the sanctity of our homes,” said U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger.

Five of the defendants appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge José R. Almonte in Newark federal court and were detained. Ramirez Nilo had his initial appearance on May 22, 2024, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Christensen in Los Angeles federal court and was also detained.

Thieves are victimizing more and more homeowners in New Jersey and beyond, traveling up from South American nations,” FBI – Newark Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy said. “They hit multiple victims in one community, quickly move on to the next and then flee back to their native country. This isn't your traditional crime spree; it is an actual industry of organized criminals who invade and shatter people's private sanctuaries and steal valuable possessions. These theft groups may believe they can circumvent our laws, but the charges today and other similar outstanding investigations prove we are stopping these offenders and bringing them to justice.”

According to court documents and statements, the defendants are part of a burglary ring that committed multiple residential burglaries in March and April 2024, targeting homes in states including Maryland and New York. They conspired to steal large amounts of jewelry, collectibles, and other valuables. On April 19, 2024, they stole a heavy security safe from a residence and attempted to conceal the theft by covering security cameras.

Law enforcement officers recovered multiple pieces of jewelry, collectible coins, cufflinks, and other valuable items from a vehicle used by the defendants. The vehicle also contained tools commonly used in burglaries, such as gloves, balaclavas, and window punches.

The charge of conspiracy to sell or receive stolen property carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, while the charge of receiving stolen property carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Both charges also carry a maximum fine of up to $250,000, or twice the amount of money involved in the offense, whichever is greater.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited the FBI Newark’s Transnational Organized Crime Task Force, Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Enforcement and Removal Operations, the Clinton Township Police Department, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department for their roles in the investigation. Additional assistance was provided by the FBI Los Angeles Major Theft Task Force, Customs and Border Protection, Amtrak Police Department, Baltimore County Police Burglary Unit, Jersey City Police Department, Los Angeles Police Department, New Jersey State Police, New York State Police, Westchester County Police, and NJ Transit Police.

Anyone who believes they may be a victim or has information about these thefts is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI, submit information online at, or contact a local FBI field office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Trevor A. Chenoweth of the General Crimes Unit in Newark is representing the government in this case.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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