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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.

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