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Gang Member Gets Life in Prison for Lompoc Kidnap-Torture

A former high-ranking gang member in Santa Barbara County was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Wednesday for his role in the kidnapping and torture of a dealer who owed “drug taxes” in Lompoc.

Authorities say Raymond Daniel Macias, who belonged to the Eastside Krazies in Santa Barbara, oversaw those responsible for collecting taxes for the Sureno gang throughout the county.

Two juries convicted Macias for his role in the kidnapping and torture of a Lompoc gang member nicknamed Sicko. (Prosecutors asked that the victim’s real name not be used due to concerns for his safety.)

In June, the first jury returned a guilty verdict for torture and sales of methamphetamine. 

The panel was deadlocked on the kidnapping and solicitation-for-extortion charges.

The same jury also found Macias’ codefendant, Luis Alfred Almanza, guilty of kidnapping for extortion and torture, plus special allegations for use of a firearm, gang involvement and use of a deadly or dangerous weapon.

Prosecutors decided to retry Macias on the kidnapping charge, and a jury found him guilty in September.

Authorities alleged that Macias was a top-ranking gang leader in Santa Barbara, who set up the January 2013 attack because the victim hadn’t paid the required “taxes” to the Sureno 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 allegedly used a hatchet to injure the victim’s arm and torso, according to prosecutors.

Macias’ attorney, Michael Scott, submitted letters Wednesday in a bid for a lighter sentence.

But Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen argued against leniency.

“Mr. Macias ran all the Sureno gang in the county for at least three years,” Bramsen told Judge Patricia Kelly. 

Bramsen said the defendant “deserves the maximum.”

Scott said there is no evidence his client actually kidnapped the victim, and said Macias makes no apology for his gang lifestyle.

“That’s what he grew up with,” Scott said.

The defense attorney added that Macias actually prevented the death of the victim by negotiating a compromise when others had talked of killing and burying the victim on a remote ranch.

Noting the numerous and increasing seriousness prior crimes committed by Macias, the judge sentenced him to 18 years in prison followed by life without parole. 

For selling drugs, Macias received the upper term of 8 years plus another 10 years for enhancements for the gang allegation and being armed with a gun. 

The judge also ordered Macias to pay $10,000 in restitution.

Law enforcement officials announced in June 2013 that the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury had issued criminal indictments against multiple people, many of whom testified for the prosecution in the trials for Macias and Almanza.

"As a result of this investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies and subsequent successful prosecutions, a dangerous gang member will spend the rest of his life in prison, and a strong message is sent to Sureno gangs in California that Santa Barbara County will vigorously prosecute gang-related crimes," said District Attorney Joyce Dudley.

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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