General Crime

* Jose Meza, Joel Sanchez and Angel Torres arrested for gang killing of Watsonville resident Richard Campos

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Nine months after 21-year-old Watsonville resident Richard Campos was killed in a gang-related shooting, police arrested three men suspected in his death.The men, identified as 18-year-old Jose Meza and 30-year-old Joel Sanchez, both from Watsonville, were arrested on Friday. A third suspect, 23-year-old Angel Torres, is serving a sentence of up to 15 years at the Wasco State Penitentiary for an unrelated robbery in Fresno, according to Watsonville police.Campos died from a gunshot wound near his car at 34 Roache Road on the evening of Sept. 15, 2009, according to police. Earlier that evening, he had been sitting alone in his car outside his home on Roache Road when he was allegedly confronted by Meza, Sanchez and Torres. The men drove up to Campos in a car, and then two of them got out of the car and allegedly fired several shots at Campos, according to police.The men returned to the car and drove off along with the handguns, which have not been recovered, police said. Detectives and gang unit officers, along with the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office, began investigating Campos’ death as a gang-motivated murder. After months of collecting evidence and following leads, detectives identified the three suspects as Sanchez, Meza and Torres.Shortly after midnight on Friday, a gang unit officer tracked Sanchez to Interstate Highway 5 near Buttonwillow, where the California Highway Patrol stopped and arrested him.Later that morning, officers went to Meza’s home on California Street and arrested him without incident.Torres will be brought back to Santa Cruz County jail and charged for the murder of Campos in the next couple of weeks, police said.Detectives believe Campos’ shooting was a “hit,” in which gang members assault opposing gang members for the benefit or notoriety of their gang or as part of an initiation process,according to police.

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