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MS-13 gang members receive multiple life sentences in Santa Maria court trial

SANTA MARIA, Calif. – The five MS-13 gang members convicted of multiple murder and other charges were sentenced in Santa Maria court on Monday as the nearly year-long jury trial culminates.

“Finally justice has been served," said Senior Deputy District Attorney, Ann Bramsen.

The five defendants in the Santa Maria trial were convicted of 10 gang-related murders that occurred in the Santa Maria Valley, and more than a dozen other attempted killings between 2013 and 2016.

Each defendant received either 288 or 313 years to life in prison and will never be released.

“We hope that some of the victims who survived and the family members of the victims who were killed have some sense of peace and justice," said Ann Bramsen.

They were arrested six years ago in a major, multiple law enforcement agency sweep dubbed "Operation Matador."

Others arrested in Operation Matador accepted plea deals and have already been sentenced.

MS-13 is a notoriously violent transnational street gang with members mostly from Honduras and El Salvador. The five Santa Maria MS-13 defendants face the possibility of life in prison without parole.

“I think today is a big step for accountability for those who killed him and cause harm to so many others," said mother to murder victim, Rebekah Spicuglia.

“Nothing will ever bring their loved one back, but at least they know that their killers will never hurt anyone again and they were sentenced to the maximum amount of time," said Bramsen.

“I hope that they at the very least will not cause anymore harm to others," said Rebekah Spicuglia.

The other five defendants are currently on trial in Santa Barbara because court administrators said that one courtroom couldn't accommodate all of the participants.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County

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Jade Martinez-Pogue

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