Three drug dealers pleaded guilty to conspiracy and extortion in connection with a scheme to retaliate for a methamphetamine robbery that led to Anaheim's fifth murder of 2012.
Agustin Vazquez Velazquez, 28, Kain Espinoza, 28, and Rocio Alejandra Badilla, 23, each admitted going to an apartment complex in the 300 block of East Clifton Avenue on April 25, 2012, when Luis Arreola was shot to death.
According to a City News Service report on the proceedings in a Fullerton courtroom, this was a case of meth dealers vs. meth dealers (some currently alleged to be so) from Anaheim, Commerce, Montebello and Los Angeles.
Arreola, Juan Carlos Carranza, 26, and Alma Lopez Trinidad, 27, hatched a plan to steal drugs from Velazquez, Espinoza, Badilla and 41-year-old Jose Felix Zepeda. Trinidad told Espinoza and Velazquez she wanted to buy three pounds of methamphetamine that Zepeda (allegedly) had supplied.
Arreola and (allegedly) Carranza stole the drugs at gunpoint at Velazquez's Montebello home, but they left a friend behind. Badilla, Espinoza, Velazquez and (allegedly) Zepeda forced the friend to drive them to Carranza's apartment complex, where they took back the drugs and fled.
Anaheim Police had received numerous calls of shots fired at the apartments in the 300 block of East Clifton Avenue on April 25, 2012, when around 7:45 that evening they found Arreola on the front walkway with gunshot wounds. He was rushed to emergency, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
The investigative trail led to the rival meth dealers. Velazquez and Espinoza pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to commit a crime and admitted to a sentencing enhancement for possession of drugs. They are scheduled to be sentenced March 28 at the North Justice Center in Fullerton.
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That's also where Badilla pleaded guilty to extortion and was immediately sentenced to three years in prison, essentially the jail time she has already served awaiting trial.
Carranza and Trinidad, who are also charged in connection with the case, are expected to strike plea deals, according to Deputy District Attorney Jim Mendelson.
But the alleged triggerman, Zepeda, faces charges of murder, kidnapping for extortion and conspiracy with sentencing enhancements for drug possession at his trial scheduled next month in Santa Ana.