Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 1:09 pm | Fair 62º

 
 
 
 

Defense Expert Testifies About Phrase ‘Gang Associate’ During Ibarra Murder Trial

“Gang associate” is a loosely defined term that law enforcement officers use to encompass multiple people, an expert testified Tuesday in the Santa Maria trial for the six men charged with the torture and slaying of Anthony Ibarra two years ago.

Gang expert Martin Flores from Los Angeles began testifying for the defense Tuesday in Santa Maria Juvenile Court.

The prosecution team contends Ibarra, 28, was killed in a gang-related torture-slaying in March 2013 in a house on West Donovan Road. His body was found days later in a U-Haul truck parked in Orcutt.

On trial for Ibarra’s death are Ramon Maldonado, his father David Maldonado, Jason Castillo, Reyes Gonzales, Anthony Solis and Santos Sauceda. 

Some of the defendants belonged to gangs while police said others are associates.

A member is someone accepted by the gang, by either being jumped in, committing a crime for the gang, or having family ties, Flores said.

The term associate is interpreted in various ways, Flores said under questioning from defense attorney Addison Steele. He represents Solis, who has been labeled a gang associate.

“Communication by itself should not make you an associate, just like interacting with law enforcement doesn’t make you a cop associate,” Flores said.

Flores added that he wouldn’t automatically classify a drug addict as a gang associate, and said that having relatives who belong to a gang also is not sufficient to deem someone an associate.

“The net is casting too large,” he said.

Buying drugs also doesn’t immediately mean someone is a gang associate, he said.

“It can but it’s not automatic,” Flores said. “You’ve got to put it in perspective to their situation.”

He also said gang members commit crimes that are not necessarily for the benefit for a gang, noting domestic violence cases likely are not in the capacity of a gang. 

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.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >