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Police Arrest Fifth Suspect in Cacique Street Stabbing

The 18-year-old victim is believed to be a member of a rival gang

Santa Barbara police have arrested a fifth suspect in a March 30 attack that sent an 18-year-old man to the hospital with numerous stab wounds.

Juan Carlos Villa
Juan Carlos Villa

Juan Carlos Villa, 19, was arrested in Chicago on May 24 at the home of a relative. Four other suspects were arrested within the week of the crime and were charged with the same crimes as Villa, including attempted murder and committing a crime in furtherance of a criminal street gang.

The victim, a known gang member according to police, was found at 1100 Cacique St. with multiple stab wounds to his limbs and torso and was admitted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in serious but stable condition.

Villa was found after investigating and coordinating with the Chicago Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service fugitive apprehension unit, according to Santa Barbara police spokesman Lt. Paul McCaffrey. Santa Barbara gang detectives brought Villa back and booked him in the county jail on May 27 with $1 million bail.

Witnesses said several suspects got out of a dark car, knocked the victim to the ground and stabbed him repeatedly before leaving in the car, according to police.

All five suspects 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.”

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” that give up certain rights of privacy, McCaffrey said. That fact in addition to the traces of blood seen in the car and odor of marijuana brownies were causes for searching the car, he said.

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.

Police detectives later 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.

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 the, police said.

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. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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