Alleged street crime tied to gang violence

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Colusa County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey A. Thompson found there is sufficient evidence for Nickolas Roberto Rojas, 25, and Andy Garcia, 22, to be charged with assault with special allegations in connection with what the Colusa Police Department reported was a vicious attack on a Colusa man on Oct. 9.

Rojas and Garcia are admitted members of the Sioc Street subsection of the Norteños gang, according to investigators with the Colusa County District Attorney’s office, as is the victim, Floyd “Donny” Haberle, who testified Monday at a preliminary hearing for the two men, both felons with prior records.

Haberle said he was walking with Rojas in the alley off Sioc Street around midnight on Oct. 9, when he heard a whistle he recognized as a gang call behind him.

Haberle, who was reluctant to identify his attackers in court Monday, said Rojas hit him after he turned toward the whistler, pushed him into a fence, kicked him, held him down, and beat him in the face, while another man whose voice he recognized as Garcia’s participated in the beating.

Although Harbele’s ear was seriously cut during the attack with a knife he said probably came from his own pocket, Harbele testified he could not identify the person who actually cut him, nor could he see Garcia’s face at anytime during the attack due to blood and trauma from the blows inflicted.

“Everything was black,” Harbele said.

Harbele said he also recognized the voice of Alfredo Tobar, who he knew only as “Gato” as being present at the incident, but who called out to the others to stop the beating.

Tobar was originally charged with street terrorism in connection with the incident, but those charges were dismissed.

Investigators said the Oct. 9 street violence was likely an exercise to guarantee the gang’s territorial and social control over the Sioc Street Norteños members, most of whom have known each other since they were children.

The Norteños, who typically bear tattoos of the number 14 or one and four dots somewhere on their hands or elbows, have been active in Colusa since the 1990s, officials said.

Rojas and Garcia could face special sentencing enhancements for violence related to gang activity, if they are convicted.

Separate attorneys represent the two defendants, with Rojas’ attorney already considering a plea deal.

Both are in custody at the Colusa County Jail.

All, including Harbele, are facing various other criminal charges related to separate incidences. They are due back in court on Dec. 11. ■