Seven facing drug, gang charges in Sutter County
Charged in the case are: Kevin Soto, Augustin Castro, Marcelino Castro, Victor Soto-Guzman, Germain Mendez, Yobani Mendez, Irvin Munoz, Uziel Munoz and Jose Antonio Soto.
A Sutter County judge ordered seven suspected gang members to stand trial on Wednesday for a variety of drug and gang charges.
Two other defendants waived their preliminary hearings this week before Judge Brian Aronson in Sutter County Superior Court.
All nine are charged with felony counts of criminal street gang participation in connection with lengthy wire-tap investigation involving the drug distribution and recruiting activities of a Yuba City gang.
"It's a confusing case because it's such a large case," said Jana McClung, assistant Sutter County district attorney.
All have been charged with a felony count of criminal street gang participation and some are also facing misdemeanor drug charges.
Each defendant has his own attorney and scheduling proceedings has been a significant challenge to moving the case forward.
Defendants are due back in court April 2, April 8 and April 15.
Suspected ring-leader Kevin Soto, 18, is scheduled to appear again April 8. He remains free on a bail bond.
Three wire taps were used as part of the investigation into the Feb. 12, 2012, shooting death of Anthony "PeeWee" Gonzales, an 18-year-old Yuba City resident with suspected gang ties. Gonzales' death remains unsolved.
Police said the inquiry exposed older teenagers recruiting younger kids to sell and transport methamphetamine and marijuana.
CONTACT Rob Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4785. Find him on Facebook at /ADcrimebeat or on Twitter at @ADcrimebeat.