Sunday, June 20, 2021



Convicted gang member sentenced to prison

The accused leader of a Colusa street gang was sentenced to more than four years in state prison last week for the Oct. 9, 2019 vicious assault on a fellow gang member.

Andrew “Andy” Garcia, 23, was convicted March 12 after pleading no contest to a single charge of felony assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, in a plea deal that dismissed felony charges of mayhem, robbery, and street terrorism, along with special allegations that would have greatly enhanced the number of years he would spend behind bars, court records indicate.

Garcia was also sentenced June 4 to an additional eight months in jail for violating his probation on the 2017 charge of being a felon in possession of ammunition, which was struck in exchange for the dismissal of possession of a firearm and other charges.

The eight months will run consecutive to the initial sentence, although Garcia has already served 260 actual days in Colusa County Jail and will receive an additional 260 days for good conduct, for which he will receive credit.

Nickolas Roberto Rojas, 25, who was also charged in the 2019 attack on an admitted gang member, has pleaded not guilty and intends to take the matter before a jury.

Garcia and Rojas are members of the Sioc Street Norteños, according to victim Floyd “Donny” Harbele Jr., who testified that 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, said Rojas hit him after he turned toward the whistler, kicked him, held him down, and beat him in the face, while Garcia, whose voice he recognized as the whistler, participated in the beating.

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

Harbele said the attack likely stemmed from him getting the Sioc gang tattoo without Garcia’s explicit permission but from another member of the gang.

Garcia reportedly used a knife to seriously cut Harbele’s ear, which required stitches. A third man, also reported to be a member of the street gang and present during the attack, was arrested following the incident but all the charges were dismissed.

Garcia’s private attorney, Geoffrey B. Wander, argued last week that alcohol was at the root of his client’s behavior, and that Garcia should be allowed another chance at probation so he could receive treatment for his addiction.

Judge Jeffrey A. Thompson agreed that alcohol was likely a contributing factor, but said it was Garcia’s “strict adherence to a gang lifestyle” that has repeatedly got him into trouble.
Thompson said Garcia’s “increasingly criminal” behavior does not warrant probation, and that Garcia must remain on parole or post release community supervision for a period of three years after his release.

Rojas’ trial is set for July 29, unless he strikes a deal with the District Attorney.
Rojas is charged with assault with a deadly weapon, two special allegations of street terrorism and causing great bodily injury, and two special allegations for prior felony convictions.

Rojas was convicted in 2012 for possessing metal knuckles, a deadly weapon, on which he was sentenced to 180 days in jail. He was also convicted of burglary and probation violation in 2013, in which he was sentenced to state prison, as well as convictions for various street crimes, court records indicate.

Rojas has been held in the Colusa County Jail since the Oct. 9 incident on $1 million bail. ■

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