The victim of an alleged kidnapping and torture involving gang members in Lompoc told a Santa Maria jury he remained tied up afterwards while his attackers did drugs and awaited the arrival of the “homie.”
The gang member known as Sicko testified Thursday in the Santa Barbara County Superior Court trial for Raymond Daniel Macias, a high-ranking gang leader from Santa Barbara, accused of spearheading the January 2013 attack because the victim owed “drug taxes” and dodged attempts to collect the money.
(At the request of prosecutors, the victim’s name isn’t being used in this story.)
Macias is being retried on one count of kidnapping for extortion after a jury in his first trial in June couldn’t reach a verdict on the charge. However, he was found guilty of torture and selling methamphetamine.
His co-defendant, Luis “Lucky” Almanza, was found guilty of kidnapping for extortion and torture for his role in the attack on Sicko due to unpaid drug taxes to the Surenos gang.
Macias, a member of the Santa Barbara-based Eastside Krazies, allegedly oversaw gangs in Santa Barbara County, prosecutors have contended.
Sicko, a member of the Lompoc-based VLP gang, recounted how he was taken to a garage, where Almanza tried to punch him, but the hit was deflected.
Instead, Sicko managed to take Almanza down and other gang members, including the victim’s two cousins, joined in to assault Sicko.
At one point, Almanza used the dull side of a hatchet and badly injured Sicko’s arm before using the sharp side to cut him near the armpit. Eventually, they tied up Sicko and sat him on a milk crate placed on a tarp they had spread to cover the garage floor.
After the attack, the gang members did drugs and waited.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen asked the victim whom Almanza said they were waiting to arrive.
“The homie,” Sicko said, before identifying Macias, known as Boxer, as the homie.
But Macias’ attorney, Michael Scott, put the blame for the extent of the attack on Almanza.
“That was all Lucky doing, that wasn’t it?” Scott asked Sicko.
“If you say so, yeah,” Sicko responded.
The victim later agreed that being tied up typically isn’t part of a checking, gang terminology for a brief assault conducted by gang against a member for punishment.
Eventually, Macias showed up at the garage to discuss Sicko’s drug tax debt.
Under questioning from Bramsen, Sicko said he told Macias he would pay his debt, and agreed to get “poked,” or stabbed, in the future. Macias didn’t order the others to untie Sicko until after he agreed to pay the taxes and be poked, Sicko said.
He agreed the assault was a consequence of failing to pay drug taxes he owed Macias.
“Would you have agreed to almost anything?” Bramsen asked.
“Yes,” Sicko replied.
Under questioning from Scott, Sicko described willingly getting into a vehicle and going with the gang members to the garage, but later told Bramsen he didn’t really have option but to go with them.
Macias is the final defendant on trial for charges related to the kidnap-torture case from Lompoc last year.
In June 2013, the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury indicted several members in connection with the incident. Most ended up accepting plea bargains in exchange for testifying for the prosecution.