Mexican jewel thief gang strikes in Latin America and Las Vegas

“Los Mazos” is a Mexican jewel thief gang suspect of several heists in Europe, the United States, and Latin America

Jewelry recover by the authorities of Urugay - Taken from Twitter account @MI_UNICOM
English 21/02/2018 11:38 San José, Costa Rica José Meléndez Actualizada 12:03

The night of February 6, 2018, a gang of at least 17 Mexicans robbed the jewelry store Sensation De Temps at the Hotel Enjoy Conrad, in Punta del Este, Uruguay. They broke into the store with their faces covered and stole USD$ 3 million worth of jewelry. Uruguayan police subsequently arrested 15 of the alleged culprits and recovered all the stolen items.

In Costa Rica, at least 26 Mexicans stole USD$2 million worth of jewelry from the stores Tiempo Global and Eurochronos. Thus far, only four members are currently under arrest in the Central American country and only some of the items have been recovered.

According to the chief of the Thefts Division of the Department of the Judicial Investigation Office (OIJ) of Costa Rica, Marco Carrión, there is a link between these two crimes.

“The modus operandi in Costa Rica is the same as in Uruguay, with the difference that in the South American country they caught nine almost in the act,” said Carrión to EL UNIVERSAL.

In Uruguay, the 15 suspects were arrested between the night of Tuesday 8 and Friday 11, with the first four being captured the same night of the robbery. In Costa Rica, the investigation continues.

“Police seized the rest of the loot stolen from the jewelry heist in Punta del Este,” reads the Tweet of the Communication Department of  Urugay's Ministry of the Interior.

Posing as businessmen, jewelry experts, or ordinary tourists, the members of the jewel thief gang “Los Mazos” (The Mallets) – founded in 2010 and believed to have its base of operations in Mexico City – have left an international trail robbing jewelry shops in the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, and Uruguay, and their link to a heist in France last January is currently being investigated.

According to the Department of the Judicial Investigation Office, they are also suspected of being behind a robbery at the Hotel Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“The operation of the gang is innovative. It's the same M.O. in all the crimes,” said Carrión.

There currently are four Mexicans arrested in Costa Rica, 15 in Uruguay, and three in the United States in relation to the heists while international investigations continue into the gang's operations.