Sixteen defendants were indicted by a San Mateo Grand Jury for numerous crimes believed to be connected to their involvement in East Palo Alto gangs including murder, attempted murder, giving false statements, attempting to bribe witnesses and robbery, the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office announced today.
The defendants were named in three separate indictments that were handed down on Tuesday. Most of them are East Palo Alto residents.
The crimes include four murders in East Palo Alto and San Francisco, a freeway shooting in Belmont, a jewelry store robbery, and manipulating witnesses to cover up the alleged crimes, all in 2012 and 2013.
The lengthiest list of charges belong to Raymond Lewis Bradford, a purported Da Vill gang member, and alleged Sac Street gang members Emmanual Imani Hyland, Eric Valencia Vargas and Marvin Jake Ware. All are from East Palo Alto.
Bradford, Hyland and Vargas were all connected to the murder of Stoney Lamont Gipson in San Francisco on Oct. 7, 2012.
Bradford and Hyland were also connected with the murder of Jonathan Neri Alzacar in East Palo Alto on Jan. 14, 2013, while Vargas, Bradford and Ware were charged with an injury shooting on a Belmont freeway on Sept. 30, 2012.
The shootings were allegedly attempts to murder members of the rival Taliban gang or individuals who were cooperating with law enforcement, and in several instances the defendants allegedly made attempts to dissuade witnesses from testifying against them.
The Belmont shooting was an attempt to kill a purported Taliban Gang member, Chariece Chew, whose mother’s address Ware obtained on Sept. 8, 2012, according to the indictment.
On Sept. 30, Bradford, Vargas and Ware allegedly drove to Hayward together in a silver Toyota 4Runner and waited outside Chew’s address until he left. The three then allegedly followed him onto the San Mateo Bridge, according to the indictment.
On U.S. Highway 101 they allegedly pulled the 4Runner alongside Chew’s car and opened fire, hitting Chew and one of his two passengers. The car swerved off the road and crashed, injuring the third passenger, according to the indictment.
Vargas was arrested on suspicion of the incident on Dec. 6, 2012.
After his arrest, Ware attempted to bribe Chew into testifying that Vargas was not the shooter, and they used a jailhouse connection to get a message that Chew would be paid if he could get the charges dropped, according to the indictment.
Ware enlisted the help of Nina Cragg of Palo Alto to get the message to other Taliban gang members. Chew was in custody at the time so Roshawn Bickham, who is currently in custody at Folsom State Prison, was enlisted to deliver the message, according to the indictment.
But before his arrest, Vargas allegedly assisted in the murder and attempted murder of two other purported Taliban gang members who were at a club in San Francisco early in the morning on Oct. 7, 2012.
Cragg provided Hyland with information about Stoney Gipson in March of that year, and on Oct. 6, Bradford learned that he was at the Impala Club.
Bradford asked a friend named “Butta Fresh” to find out which Taliban members were at the Imapala Club that night and Bradford, Hyland, Vargas and Roberto Gabriel Bustos-Montes of East Palo Alto all allegedly went to San Francisco and followed Gipson out of the club.
They allegedly opened fire on Gipson’s car while he and another alleged Taliban gang member, Dwayne Anthony Henry, were inside.
Gipson was found dead in his car in the 700 block of Mission Street at about 2:40 a.m. on Oct. 7, 2012.
Bradford, Hyland and Tyrone Sostenes Love-Lopez are also alleged to have murdered Jonathan Neri Alcazar in East Palo Alto on Jan. 14, 2013.
Love-Lopez allegedly alerted Bradford and Hyland to Alcazar’s location and the three went to a backyard in the 2600 block of Illinois Street and shot Alcazar, 24, killing him, and injuring another man, according to the indictment.
Bustos-Montes, Hyland, Love-Lopez, Ware and Cragg were indicted in another murder less than two weeks later in East Palo Alto, on Jan. 26, 2013.
The indictment alleges that the four defendants tracked down Lamont Darnell Coleman, 21, because they believed he had cooperated with law enforcement.
Bustos-Montes and Love-Lopez allegedly carried out the murder by shooting Coleman with a 12-guage shotgun in the 2200 block of Capitol Avenue at about 9 p.m.
In a separate indictment, Jerry Coneal III and Miguel Angel Rivera Jr., both of Menlo Park, are accused of shooting and killing 21-year-old Christopher Baker in the 2200 block of Terra Villa Avenue in East Palo Alto on Oct. 5, 2012.
A third indictment deals with the attempted robbery of a jewelry store in unincorporated Menlo Park on the afternoon of Jan. 26, 2013.
Bradford, along with Leonard James Gaines and Rodney Levence Mitchell of East Palo Alto and Robert Wheller Jr. of Hayward, are charged in the robbery of Plaza Jewelers at 3303 Middlefield Road in unincorporated Menlo Park, Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti said.
They were unsuccessful in the robbery and fled in a white sedan but later crashed at Marsh and Bay roads, according to the sheriff’s office. They fled on foot and after a search two suspects were apprehended that day.
Cragg and Bickham are also charged with helping prepare false testimony for alleged Sac Street gang member Donte Demon Jordan of East Palo Alto.
Hyland is also charged in one indictment with possession of marijuana and methamphetamine for sale.
Of the 16 defendants, 11 are in custody in San Mateo County and five are in custody in other institutions, Guidotti said.
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