Judge sentences five Santa Maria gang members to life in prison

May 17, 2022

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

Five Santa Maria MS-13 gang members each received life sentences without parole on Monday for a series of murders and other crimes they committed in Northern Santa Barbara County.

Amid a string of gang violence, murders in Santa Maria increased from three in 2014 to 13 in 2015. Another six people were killed in the city in Jan. 2016.

In March 2016, authorities arrested 15 foreign nationals from Honduras and El Salvador and detained another 40 individuals as part of a multi-state operation targeting suspects in Santa Maria’s murder spree.

A total of 10 defendants in the case were charged locally, with separate trials taking place in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara.

Five of the 10 defendants stood trial in Santa Maria. Each of those five defendants were charged with at least 40 crimes, including nine homicides and 14 attempted murders. Last month, the they were found guilty of the majority of the charges.

On Monday, each of the defendants convicted in the Santa Maria trial received multiple life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Juan Membreno was sentenced to 288 years in prison. Tranquilino Morales, Luis German Orellana, Juan Carlos Serrano and Marcos Torres each received sentences of 313 years.

Two of the remaining defendants signed plea agreements, while three others are currently on trial in Santa Barbara.


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NorthSide

Amd hell awaits them on the other side.


Florian75

How long until these gangs and the cartels are pulling the strings and calling the shots in city halls and state capitols?


Michael Stove

Oh is that because these Hispanic people are ‘replacing’ you and your friends as voters?


Go watch some more Tucker Carlson and keep your Great Replacement Theory off of here.


Florian75

It is not a stretch to think that gangs, cartels and criminal syndicates find it advantageous to infiltrate and exert influence with governments and politicians. It happens all over the world, and some will point out that we may have even experienced such corruption in our own county.


Baywoodjones

Every ounce of the cartels’s power comes directly from the drug war. If you want to stop them, end the War on Drugs. It’s that easy. We saw this in the 1920s with alcohol prohibition and after a decade realized it was not only pointless but a large underworld with almost immeasurable power had formed. These cartels are what we avoided seeing the American Mafia grow into when we repealed prohibition by ratifying the 21st Amendment


Messkit

With current politics in play, we can expect them to be released in 5 years, with a promise to not be such naughty boys.


Michael Stove

A gross and misleading simplification of bipartisan efforts to reform sentencing for non-violent crimes.


These guys deserve what they got. Let’s just celebrate our justice system for this win.


Messkit

Just last year, Newsom signed the bill that released 76,000 non-violent, violent, and very violent prisoners for…”good behavior”.


That’s what is gross.


derasmus

Tell that to the victims of crime in LA County. Do you think it’s just political that DA George Gascon and the San Francisco DA is facing recall?