|For Immediate Release
Case # 10CF2457, 10CF2449,
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
FOUR ORANGE GANG MEMBERS CHARGED WITH SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES MURDER OF MAN
DURING BOTCHED DRUG SALE
SANTA ANA – Four members of a Latino criminal street gang were charged yesterday with gang motivated conspiracy and special circumstances murder of a man during a botched drug sale. Joseph Baez, 26, Robert Riel, 31, and Christian Galindo, 25, all from Orange, are charged with one felony count each of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery, conspiracy to commit a robbery, street terrorism, being an active participant in criminal street gang having a concealed firearm in a vehicle, and sentencing enhancements for being a gang member vicariously discharging a firearm causing death and criminal street gang activity. Baez was charged with sentencing enhancements for one prior strike conviction for assault with a deadly weapon in 2008 and one prison prior conviction for gang related fighting in public in 2004. Riel was charged with sentencing enhancements for one prior strike conviction for residential burglary in 2005 and three prison prior convictions for unlawful taking of a car in 1999, possession of a deadly weapon in 2003, and possession of methamphetamine in 2006. Galindo was charged with sentencing enhancements for two prior strike convictions for burglary as a gang member in 2003 and possession of methamphetamine for sale as a gang member in 2005.
Co-defendant Amour Villamar, 30, Orange, is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery, and sentencing enhancements for being a gang member vicariously discharging a firearm causing death and criminal street gang activity. Villamar was charged with sentencing enhancements for two prison prior convictions for possession of methamphetamine for sale in 2004 and unlawful taking of a car in 2009.
If convicted, all four defendants face a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Villamar and Riel are in custody in state prison and are expected to be transferred to Orange County Jail for an arraignment date to be determined. Baez and Galindo are scheduled to be arraigned today, Friday, Sept. 10, 2010, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.
On Jan. 4, 2010, Baez, Riel, and Galindo, members of a Latino criminal street gang, are accused of plotting to steal drugs from a contact of fellow gang member Villamar while at a party together. They are accused of calling Villamar and asking her to contact her drug dealer Bernal Ezquivel Felix to set up a meeting. Later that night, Villamar is accused of meeting up with the three co-defendants at the party and calling and arranging to meet Felix in Orange.
At approximately 11:00 p.m., Baez and Riel are accused of grabbing their firearms and leaving with Villamar and Galindo to meet Felix with the intention of stealing from him. They are accused of pulling over in a residential area on Oak Street in Orange. While Galindo waited in his dark Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), Baez and Riel are accused of exiting the SUV and hiding nearby out of sight from Felix, who was in his white sedan car driving slowly on Oak Street. Villamar is accused of exiting Galindo’s SUV and getting into the backseat of Felix’s slow-moving car with the intention to purchase drugs. Baez is accused of sneaking up to the driver’s side window of Felix’s car, shooting and killing the victim. The victim’s car was still moving and came to a stop after hitting a parked car on the street. Villamar is accused of exiting the victim’s vehicle empty-handed and jumping into Galindo’s SUV along with Baez and Riel. The four defendants are accused of fleeing the scene.