Two FBI terrorist watchlist members have been arrested after an alleged manhunt attempt to break into the Sacramento area
Two men on the FBI’s terrorist watch list were arrested last week on suspicion of trying to break into a home in Granite Bay before fleeing law enforcement, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputies responded to a Granite Bay residence at 7:10 p.m. on November 10 after the homeowners spotted two masked men on their security cameras trying to force entry into the home. As units arrived, the two men fled in a black Mercedes, traveling at high speeds through heavy traffic, the Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
A law enforcement helicopter tracked down the two men in Sacramento County. The men crashed into a sign in the area of Gerber and Power Inn roads in south Sacramento, disabling their vehicle, authorities said.
The men can be seen in helicopter infrared video released by the Sheriff’s Office fleeing into a nearby neighborhood and hiding in separate backyards. Officers found and arrested the two men a short time later, police officials said.
Placido Lopez Vargas, 27, and Angel Emmanuel, 23, are being held in the Placer County Jail on suspicion of attempted burglary, felony evasion and conspiracy.
Investigators later linked the two men to the “South American Robbery Group,” or SATG, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office said in the post.
Sgt. David Smith, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said that criminals belonging to this group use similar techniques, which is what prompted the investigators’ report; He said they tend to target high-end jewelry and cash, items that cannot be tracked by serial numbers.
“We’re not the only jurisdiction affected by this and we’re not the only state affected by this,” Smith added.
“The two individuals arrested this weekend were on the FBI’s terrorist watch list for involvement in transnational organized crime,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a social media post. “These arrests bring the total number of arrests for known transnational thefts in Placer County over the past year.”
The Sheriff’s Office said there were 20 burglaries reported and more than $1 million in stolen property last year believed to have been stolen by SATG-affiliated criminals.
Investigators are also looking into previous burglaries to evaluate whether they also are linked to SATG activity, Smith said.
Lopez Vargas and Emanuel pleaded not guilty during their Nov. 14 arraignment in Placer Superior Court, online court records show. They are scheduled to return to court on November 27 for a status conference.