SANTA MARIA – Police arrested a 10th suspect Monday afternoon in an ongoing homicide investigation that is related to illicit drugs and street gangs.
Jason Michael Castillo, 29, of Santa Maria, was taken into custody just before 4 p.m. on April 8 at the Police Department in connection with the March 18 torture and murder of 28-year-old Anthony Ibarra, also of Santa Maria.
He was booked at Santa Barbara County Jail on murder and gang-enhancement charges.
Investigators discovered Ibarra’s body in the back of an abandoned U-Haul truck in mid-March in a residential neighborhood of Orcutt, although they believe the man was tortured and killed at a home in Santa Maria, according to police.
No motive for the slaying has been offered by police, but investigators have said that drugs and street gangs played a role in Ibarra’s murder.
Also in custody for the slaying are: David Murillo Maldonado, 55, Santos Manuel Sauceda, 33, Robert Sosa, 19, Anthony Jesus Solis, 28, Ramon Maldonado, 37, Carmen Cardenas, 28, Pedro Torres, 54, and Reyes Gonzales, 42. Gonzales is a documented street-gang member and resident of Guadalupe.
Last week, police also arrested Verenisa Castillo Aviles, 19, of Santa Maria, in connection with Ibarra’s death. She is being held at County Jail on a no-bail warrant on murder and gang-enhancement charges.
The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office has said it may seek the death penalty for several of the individuals arrested for the murder.
Crime Voice: Ninth Person Arrested in Santa Maria Torture, Murder Investigation
KCOY: Tenth Suspect Arrested in Murder of Anthony Ibarra
Santa Maria Times: Tenth person arrested in murder investigation