General Crime

Oscar Vaca Vargas Santa Cruz murder gang suspect charged with a “shank”,homemade knife in jail

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A man charged with three juveniles in the gang-related murder of a 20-year-old man was charged today in Santa Cruz with possession of a weapon in jail, according to the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office. Oscar Vaca Vargas, 20, was charged after he was found with a “shank” or homemade knife Wednesday while in the Santa Cruz County Jail, Assistant District Attorney Ross Taylor said.

His arraignment on the felony charge is set for Monday in Superior Court in Santa Cruz, Taylor said. Vargas is also facing murder and other felony charges in the Feb. 28 beating and stabbing death of Felipe Reyes in Watsonville with three minors who are to be tried as adults, Taylor said. Reyes’ murder is considered gang-related, although Taylor declined to provide details.

Andres Rocha, 17, Eric Romeo, 15 and German Carrillo, 17, have been charged along with Vargas with murder, conspiracy and assault by force with gang enhancements attached to each one, Taylor said. Prosecutors have combined their cases and the four defendants, who have court-appointed attorneys, are to appear together in court Wednesday morning,

Taylor said. Rocha, Romeo and Carrillo are to be arraigned first and then preliminary hearings will be set for them and Vargas, who pleaded not guilty Monday during his arraignment related to Reyes’ murder. Vargas faces an additional felony charge of attempting to intimidate a witness prior to his arrest in connection with the murder, Taylor said.

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