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Sunday, February 17 , 2019, 10:26 pm | Fair 48º


Four Males Arrested in Apparent Gang-Related Stabbing

Santa Barbara police seek a fifth suspect in an attack that left an 18-year-old male in serious condition with numerous stab wounds

Robert Anthony Aldaz
Robert Anthony Aldaz

Four suspects have been arrested in connection with last week’s stabbing on Cacique Street in Santa Barbara.

An 18-year-old male was found by responding officers shortly after 9:30 p.m. March 30 bleeding from numerous stab wounds to his torso and limbs, Santa Barbara Police Department spokesman Paul McCaffrey said. The victim, a known gang member, was admitted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in serious but stable condition.

Police canvassed the area around 1100 Cacique St. and heard from witnesses that the suspects were rival gang members driving a dark sedan, McCaffrey said.

Witnesses said several suspects got out of the car, knocked the victim down and stabbed him repeatedly before leaving the scene in the sedan.

At 10:58 a.m. the next day, an officer stopped a 1994 Toyota Camry at 1300 San Pascual for a minor traffic violation and noticed that the driver, Robert Anthony Aldaz, 18, had a fresh cut to his hand.

Police said that upon searching the car, a knife, fresh-looking blood stains on the upholstery and a platter of homemade marijuana brownies were found. The two passengers were both on probation, and a common condition of probation is the “search and seizure terms” which give up certain rights of privacy, McCaffrey said. That, the traces of blood seen in the car and odor of marijuana brownies were causes for searching the car, he said.

Richard Soto
Richard Soto

Aldaz and the two passengers were brought to the police station. Aldaz was arrested on charges of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and committing a crime in furtherance of a criminal street gang. The other two men were determined not to be involved.

Last Friday, police detectives arrested Richard Soto, 20, and two 17-year-old males. They were charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and committing a crime in furtherance of a criminal street gang.

Police are still seeking Juan Carlos Villa, 19, as a fifth suspect.

All five men are known gang members and/or associates, McCaffrey said, and authorities believe the men “armed themselves with knives and traveled together into a rival gang’s territory with the intent to attack a rival gang member.”

Juan Carlos Villa
Juan Carlos Villa

McCaffrey said authorities believe Soto provided the knives, Aldaz owned the suspect vehicle and drove the night of the stabbing, and the five men drove around the Eastside looking for “an acceptable victim.”

Aldaz is believed to have dropped Soto off, and the four other suspects then returned to the Eastside and spotted the victim walking alone near a “known gang hangout,” recognized him as a rival gang member and attacked them.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 805.897.2355.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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