CARLSBAD — The Carlsbad Police arrested three known members of Carlsbad’s only street gang for allegedly committing a hate crime by attacking a black male on Aug. 23.
Two of the suspects are being charged with committing a hate crime with a violent act and participating in a criminal street gang, and face over a decade behind bars if convicted.
Police arrested Stephen Barrera, 20, and Antonio Prieto, 23, on Sept. 4 and Ugo Anguiano, 26, on Sept. 6 for allegedly assaulting a 19-year-old black man around 2 a.m. on Aug. 23 on the 3500 block of Roosevelt Street in the Barrio neighborhood in Carlsbad, according to a press release from the police.
The suspects reportedly beat the victim while directing numerous racial slurs at him and claiming their affiliation with the Hispanic Carlos Malos street gang, said Detective Ryan Opeka.
The victim was left bleeding substantially, with several bruises and cuts from the assault.
The suspects fled the scene when police officers arrived in response to several 911 calls made by witnesses, according to Opeka.
Though the victim knew one of the suspects from high school, the assault was strictly turf based, he said.
He described the incident as “a senseless hate-based crime conducted by documented gang members for the benefit of the gang.”
The suspects were identified and arrested as the result of an investigation by the Carlsbad Police Department’s Vice/Narcotics/Intelligence Unit.
Ultimately, the District Attorney’s office determined to only charge Anguiano and Prieto for the crime, deciding that it could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Barrera committed the crime, said Steve Walker, the District Attorney’s communications director.
Anguiano and Prieto are facing one count of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury as an attempted hate crime committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang and one count of battery for the benefit of a criminal street gang, according to Deputy District Attorney Geoff Allard, who is handling the case.
If convicted, the two could be sentenced to a maximum 11 years behind bars, said Allard.
Prieto was arraigned in the Vista Courthouse on Sept. 11 and is being held in the Vista Detention Center on $155,000 bail.
Anguiano will be arraigned in the Vista Courthouse Sept. 16.
Barrera remains in the Vista Detention Facility on pre-existing robbery, possession of a controlled substance, and driving with a suspended license charges on $305,000 bail.
Opeka said there has been a spike in crimes committed by the Carlos Malos gang since around 2005-06. He said the gang has been responsible for a couple of homicides, attempted homicides, and assaults, all of which have been race-related.