Investigation alleges Sureños killed 4 in Contra Costa County


Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton makes a statement prior to the sentencing of Joseph James DeAngelo in Sacramento Superior Court held at CSU Sacramento in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Aug. 21, 2020. DeAngelo, a former California police officer who became known as the Golden State Killer told victims he’s “truly sorry” before he was sentenced to life imprisonment for a decade-long string of rapes and murders across a wide swath of California. (AP Photo/Randall Benton)

MARTINEZ, Calif. (KRON) — Authorities believe four homicide cold cases in Contra Costa County are connected to gang activity.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office said it filed three cases for four homicide cold cases; one of which happened in 2014 and the others in 2015. There is a total of 11 defendants, allegedly members of the Sureños gang.

“This successful operation started with a wiretap and led to multiple gang members involved in senseless murders and violence being arrested,” District Attorney Diana Becton said in a press release Tuesday. “While these cases were not solved right away, Concord Police and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force did not give up and fortunately we can bring some closure to the victims’ families.” 

The DA’s Office identified the victims as follows:

  • Victor Gutierrez, allegedly killed on April 17, 2014
  • Erick Cruz, allegedly killed on Sept. 12, 2015
  • Marcos Villazon, allegedly killed on Nov. 21, 2015
  • Luis Estrada, allegedly killed on Nov. 30, 2015

Cases were filed against the following suspects:

  • People v. Michael Valdez, Andrew Cervantes, Daniel Rodriguez
  • People v. Rafael Lopez & Juan Barocio Jr.
  • People v. Jose Cisneros, Marcos Ochoa, Luis Cruz, Aurelia Mendez, Antonio Mendez, Jose Ochoa

A total of 31 people were arrested in this investigation, called Operation Boulevard Blues. According to the DA’s Office, “34 search warrants were executed in multiple locations across Contra Costa County and 42 firearms were recovered.”

The investigation is still active.

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