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Local News

Westside Gang Members Sentenced to State Prison for Eastside Robbery

A pair of Westside gang members learned their sentences this week after a jury convicted them of robbery and false imprisonment stemming from a 2012 incident outside an Eastside market in Santa Barbara.

Marcial Garcia was sentenced to 35 years in prison and Christian Botello was sentenced to 21 years in prison, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced Wednesday.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court jury convicted both men in October of robbery and false imprisonment by violence or menace with criminal street gang allegations and active participation in the Westside criminal street gang. 

“As a result of the rigorous investigation by Santa Barbara Police Department gang detectives and the focused prosecution by Senior Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Siegel, dangerous gang members will once again be sent to prison for decades,” Dudley said. 

In a separate bifurcated trial, the jury further found Botello sustained a prior conviction in 2001 for felony active participation in a criminal street gang. 

In a court trial held several weeks after the verdicts, Judge Frank Ochoa found that Garcia also sustained prior convictions for the crimes of robbery and active participation in a criminal street gang in 2006, and grand theft person with criminal street gang allegations in 1999.  

Those findings helped lead to the longer sentences for the two defendants.

Co-defendants and fellow Westside gang members Luis Jaimes and Juan Carlos Gomez pleaded to robbery and active participation in a criminal street gang prior to trial; Jaimes was sentenced to 5 years prison and Gomez was sentenced to 5 years, 8 months in prison.  

Prosecutors contend that on Aug. 26, 2012, Garcia and Botello drove into rival Eastside gang territory with codefendants Jaimes and Gomez, stopping at the Mi Fiesta Market, 410 Salinas St. 

The victim remained in the car while his cousin went inside the market

The victim, who told the defendants he “didn’t bang,” was robbed of his wallet, cell phone, cash and other items, and threatened with being stabbed if he didn't comply with the suspects' demands.

Jaimes and Gomez were accused of acting as lookouts during the robbery.

Garcia, Botello and Gomez were among seven people arrested in October 2012 as part of a gang sweep conducted by Santa Barbara police.

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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