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Local Salinas gang members indicted in racketeering conspiracy and other crimes, officers say

SALINAS, Calif. (KION-TV)- On Thursday morning, Salinas Police and the U.S. Department of Justice announced that 11 men are being charged with multiple homicides and robberies over the past decade.

The U.S. Department of Justice said that the 11 men were allegedly a part of a racketeering conspiracy to "promote the aims of a local Salinas street gang."

The indictment, which was unsealed on Thursday said that the 11 suspects took part in a list of crimes including eight murders during the last five years, plus additional shootings.

Salinas Police said they made nine arrests on Thursday morning, two suspects are already in custody.

Four of the defendants are being charged with additional circumstances that could carry a life sentence, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations.

The FBI said that the investigation has been taking place over the past year.

Salinas Police released the identities of the 11 suspects that were involved in the racketeering conspiracy.

  • Gil Vasquez
  • Rigoberto Ramierez Jr.
  • Sergio Hernandez Jr.
  • Juan Alvarez
  • Bertin Medrano
  • Salvador Mexicano, (already in custody)
  • Raul Coronel Suarez
  • Gustavo Garcia
  • Lorenzo Garcia Jr., (already in custody)
  • Jose Saldana.

The U.S. Department of Justice said the 11 men allegedly committed multiple robberies of individuals at gunpoint, a firebombing of a Salinas apartment and the distribution of drugs including fentanyl, methamphetamine, firearms trafficking's and numerous shootings.

The U.S. Department of Justice said the indictment alleges that special sentencing factors will apply to four suspects who were involved in two federal murder cases.

Gustavo Garcia and Lorenzo Garcia for their roles in the July 19, 2014 homicide of Heron Moran on the 1000 block of North Sanborn Road.

Raul Coronal Suarez and Jose Saldana for their roles in the Dec. 2, 2023 homicide of Gregorio Solis on the 900 block of Acosta Plaza.

The U.S. District Attorney's Office said that the maximum statutory penalty for these violations is life in prison.

The Monterey County District Attorney's Office also released the two-state homicide cases that the suspects had a role in.

On May 20, 2023 there was a shooting of 21-year-old Christian Jimenez at an apartment complex on the 800 block of Garner Avenue, two suspects were arrested and were identified by Salinas Police as Ivan Jovani Barriga and Abel Juan Perez.

On December 30, 2023 there was a shooting of 33-year-old Jesus Garcia at the Intersection of Garner Avenue and Atlantic Street, suspect Jesus Saldana was arrested.

Salinas Police Interim Chief John Murray said that they served 12 search warrants throughout the city on Thursday afternoon with assistance from local and regional police agencies.

"It is only that when we work together in partnership that you see real change," Murray said. "You are facing a united community, our community."

Murray said that all these investigations are still ongoing.

The U.S. District Attorney's Office said each suspect will be charged with one count of racketeering conspiracy. The maximum penalty for the racketeering conspiracy violation is 20 years in prison with a $250,000 fine.

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Dania Romero

Dania Romero is an reporter at KION News Channel 46.

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Derrick Ow

Assignment Editor for KION News Channel 5/46


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