BCSO: Northside car theft ring see’s 4 arrest; 2 remain on the run

On Friday, May 3, the Bexar County sheriff revealed that George Santibanez, 33, Ethan Soto, 23, and Miguel Santibanez, 19, were each charged with engaging in organized crime in what Salazar called “Operation Hellcat Mike.” The fourth person arrested, Michael Wilson, 37, was allegedly organizing the chop shop, the sheriff says. He went by the nickname of “Hellcat Mike,” and is currently in police custody at the Brazoria County Jail. Where Salazar says he’s facing a $750,000 bond.

In the news briefing held at the Bexar County Sheriff Office on Friday, Salazar revealed that both George and Miguel Santibanez, as well as Soto, were running a chop shop right off Basse Road near San Pedro Avenue on San Antonio’s Northside. A year-long investigation led deputies to the property on February 27, Salazar said during the conference. 

According to the sheriff, investigators reported that the trio would steal cars before taking out the engines and installing them onto other vehicles. Then they would sell those vehicles at about half the price they’re worth on Facebook marketplace. In total, deputies found seven stolen vehicles on the property that Miguel was said to be the owner of.

After detaining one of the trio for driving a stolen Ram 1500, Bexar County investigators obtained a search warrant and raided the Basse Road location. There deputies found several more car parts that were discovered to be stolen. And one vehicle in particular, Salazar says, a gray Dodge Charger, was actually in the process of being put together. 

Salazar added during the briefing that detectives even found videos on social media that showed one of the trio driving a reported stolen vehicle on the exact same date that it was stolen. Bexar County officials were able to confirm that fact due to the license plate being fully visible in the video, the sheriff said.

An arrest affidavit obtained by MySA show’s that Miguel Santibanez was additionally charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle, while Soto was also charged with theft of a vehicle ranging from $30,000-$150,000. They both are being held in the Bexar County Jail. Deputies continue to search for two 18-year-old suspects who Salazar identified as Augustin Gallegos and Jodacey Santibanez.

Salazar said that Gallegos was charged with engaging in organized crime while Jodeacey currently is facing three charges: engaging in organized crime, unauthorized use of a vehicle and theft of a vehicle. George Santibanez is the uncle of Miguel and Jodacey, who are brothers, the sheriff added.

Salazar urged anyone with additional information regarding the whereabouts of the two to contact the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office at 210-335-6000.

The full video of the briefing on Friday can be viewed below:

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