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Local News

DA’s Office Will Retry Gang Member in Lompoc Kidnapping and Torture Case

A man who prosecutors claim was a top-level gang member in Santa Barbara County will be tried again in the kidnapping of a Lompoc drug dealer.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen announced Wednesday morning in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria that she will retry Raymond Daniel Macias on the charge of kidnapping for extortion.

“We made the decision that there’s sufficient evidence to prove the case so we’re proceeding forward in the interest of justice,” Bramsen said outside of court.

The prosecution chose not to refile a charge of solicitation for extortion against Macias and the judge dismissed that count.

The announcement comes five days after Judge Patricia Kelly declared a mistrial for those two counts against Macias because a Santa Barbara County Superior Court jury could not reach a verdict on those matters.

On Wednesday, Kelly scheduled the new trial for Aug. 11, and instructed attorneys for both sides to return to court July 30. Macias is represented by defense attorney Michael Scott.

The jury found Macias guilty of torture and methamphetamine sales.

His co-defendant, Luis Alfredo Almanza, was found guilty of kidnapping for extortion and torture.

Jury members also found both men guilty of gang and weapon enhancements.

Macias and Almanza were charged in connection with the Jan. 3, 2013, kidnapping and torture of Lompoc drug dealer who used the moniker Sicko.

Prosecutors alleged that Macias, who also is known as “Boxer,” was a top-ranking gang leader in Santa Barbara County and set up the attack because the victim hadn’t paid the required “taxes” to the Sureño gang and then hid from those trying the collect the money, a significant act of disrespect.

Almanza, also known as Lucky, was the gang enforcer, and was convicted of using a hatchet to injure the victim’s arm and torso. Almanza came to the Central Coast from Texas, where he reportedly was in a gang.

The jury of seven women and five men began deliberating June 16 and notified the judge June 20 that they were deadlocked on two of the counts against Macias but reached verdicts on the others.

The kidnapping-torture case led to grand jury indictments against multiple people, authorities announced in a June 2013 press conference in Lompoc.

Many of those indicted with Macias ended up testifying in the criminal trial in exchange for lighter sentences.

Before the judge handled the Macias matter Wednesday morning, she sentenced Frankie Lopez to a 13-year suspended sentence and five-year probation for kidnapping and gang involvement. Lopez was also indicted in this kidnap-torture case

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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