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Accused gang member pleads guilty to robbery

On the second day of his jury trial, Nickolas Roberto Rojas, 25, of Colusa, an admitted member of the Sioc Street Norteños, pleaded guilty for his part in the Oct. 9, 2019 robbery and attack on a fellow gang member.

Rojas’ trial was the first since the coronavirus outbreak and came to a sudden end July 30 after a juror reported that he was exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

Rojas and Andrew Garcia, the reported leader of the street gang, were both charged with multiple felonies following the attack, including second degree robbery with special allegations of street terrorism, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, and committing serious crimes while having prior felony convictions.

Colusa County Deputy District Attorney Brendan Farrell said Rojas lured Floyd “Donny” Harbele to a dark alley near Bridge Street, where he and Garcia beat and kicked him, and Garcia used Harbele’s own knife to cut his ear.

The attack was believed to be an exercise in Garcia’s territorial and social control over the gang, whose members have known each other since they were children.

“This is about gang politics and senseless violence in the city of Colusa,” Farrell said during opening arguments.

Garcia pleaded no contest to the assault charge on March 12, and was sentenced to state prison. Rojas pleaded guilty July 30 to the second degree robbery, in a deal that dismissed two special allegations that could have added two-to-four years prison on each charge, after a Colusa police officer testified that Harbele’s missing cell phone and knife were found in the possession of Rojas and his female companion the morning after the robbery.

Harbele’s wallet and money were never recovered, but his debit card was recovered during the initial investigation after a neighbor reported finding it in the alley where the attack occurred, according to testimony.

Rojas and Garcia have long criminal histories, according to court records. Rojas, who has remained in custody at the Colusa County Jail since his arrest last year, will be sentenced on Sept. 9 on the robbery conviction and for violating the terms of his Post Release Community Supervision (parole).

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