Mar 21, 2013 9:31 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Lead prosecutor tells of gang ties in Santa Maria murder case

Santa Maria Police said on Thursday the gang-related murder case surrounding 28-year old Anthony Ibarra, is very, very complex, especially when it comes to gang-related issues. They say the investigation may continue for months. Eight people are in custody in connection to the case.

Santa Barbara County Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen told KSBY that Ramon Maldonado and Reyes Gonzales are the two suspects that face life in prison without parole, or potentially the death penalty, if convicted. Their murder charge carries a special circumstance, including torture and being involved in a criminal street gang.

Bramsen said Carmen Cardenas and Pedro Torres could serve up to seven years in prison, if convicted, for being alleged accessories after the fact of murder. Cardenas and Torres are also being charged with being involved in a criminal street gang.

"So it means that somebody in the group, is a member of the Surenos, and as to count two that the crime was either in association with, or benefited, or was by the direction of the gang," said Bramsen.

On Thursday, KSBY also learned more about the victim. Ibarra has a criminal record dating back to 2003. He was last arrested in November 2012 for being under the influence of meth. He was also sentenced to 16 months in Wasco State Prison back in 2009 for charges related to meth.

This gang-related murder case also has a family tie. Police say David Maldonado, one of the suspects arrested on Thursday, is the father of Ramon Maldonado, one of the original four suspects.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office and the FBI are assisting the Santa Maria Police Department with this case.

The first four suspects are scheduled to be arraigned on Friday morning. Charges could also come Friday against the four latest suspects arrested Thursday.

» There are multiple updates to this story. Please click here to get the latest information.

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