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Six charged with robbery at fairgrounds

POSTED November 6, 2009 6:26 p.m.
Six validated gang members were arrested Sunday on the suspicion they robbed a teenager at the Merced County Fairgrounds, the Merced County Sheriff’s Department reported.
Just before 9 p.m. detectives Jason Cope and Jason Jacklitsch were working a security detail at the Merced Fairgrounds for the Empressa Valdivia Spanish Dance event, when they were approached by security guards saying there was some kind of disturbance at the Commerce Building.
When the detectives arrived they were told by witnesses and the 17-year-old victim that six to seven gang members had just surrounded him and stolen his gold necklace. They were able to point out the suspects who were just walking away as the detectives arrived, said sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie.
Detective Cope said they were able to detain six of the seven suspects, but the victim could not identify the seventh. After detaining the six, Detective Cope learned that they surrounded the victim and asked if he claimed a gang. When the victim said he was not involved in gangs, they said some gang slurs and ripped off the necklace. One of the suspects told witnesses that if they reported the incident, they would come back and kill them, MacKenzie said.
During the investigation, a loaded .38 caliber revolver was found on one of the suspects. All are validated gang members out of Planada and were booked into the Merced County Jail, MacKenzie said. The following are the suspects and their charges and bail amounts: Rafael Gonzalez, 20, $130,000; robbery, conspiracy to commit a crime, possession of a concealed handgun, gang enhancements; Antonio Diaz, 20, $125,000; robbery, gang enhancements; Francisco Gallardo, 21, $200,000; making terrorist threats, gang enhancements, threatening or dissuading a witness; Antonio Duran, 21, $115,000; robbery and gang enhancements; Ignacio Elias, 20, $115,000; robbery and gang enhancements; Fidel Bedolla, 22, $125,000; robbery, conspiracy to commit a crime and gang enhancements.
The conspiracy charges stem from Bedolla trying to get the gun from Gonzalez to hide it, MacKenzie said.

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