Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 12:16 am | Fair 45º


Indictments Handed Down in Kidnap-Torture Case

Several indictments in a gang-related kidnapping-torture case were made public Friday by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.

The indictments stem from the work of the Lompoc Police Department over the past eight months, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

A Santa Barbara County Grand Jury indicted defendants in the kidnapping and torture of the victim, who was identified only as John Doe, on Jan. 3, 2013.

Raymond Macias, Juan Zavala, Luis Almanza, Ivan Rodriguez, Gabriel Castaneda-Luna, Philip Lopez, Jr., Richard Lopez and Frankie Lopez were all indicted for kidnapping for extortion and torture with special allegations of use of a gun and gang enhancement, plus use of a knife against Almanza.

Macias and Zavala were also indicted for solicitation for extortion with the gang enhancement.

Indicted for sales of narcotics with gang enhancements were Macias, Rodriguez, Frankie Lopez and Joseph Gasca.

Gerardo Esquivel was indicted for sales of fake heroin with the gang enhancement, and Rodriguez and Michael Torres were indicted for felon in possession of a firearm and for sale of a firearm to a felon with the gang enhancement.

Macias, Zavala, Almanza, Rodriguez, Castaneda-Luna, Philip Lopez, Jr., Richard Lopez and Frankie Lopez all face possible sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole if they are convicted of the kidnapping for extortion charges, Dudley said.

Gasca faces a maximum of eight years in prison, and Esquivel and Torres face a maximum of seven in prison.

Calling the investigation leading to the indictments “extraordinary” and”herculean,” District Attorney Joyce Dudley said that the Lompoc Police Department Gang and Narcotic Enforcement Team, with the help of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, had successfully infiltrated a criminal street gang operating throughout Santa Barbara County.

She also lauded the work of Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen and her team for the effort.

Dudley and Lompoc Police Chief Larry Ralston will be holding a press conference announcing the indictments in Lompoc Friday afternoon.

The defendants will be arraigned on Monday in Santa Maria Superior Court.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper 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
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 >