Trial Ordered For Five Accused In Drug-Related Carjacking - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Trial Ordered For Five Accused In Drug-Related Carjacking

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Five men accused of participating in the carjacking of a man and his then-girlfriend in Pacific Beach because the male victim owed money for a drug debt must stand trial on felony charges, a judge ruled today.

Gustavo Martinez, 21, Rafael Ortiz, 22, Raymundo Quezada, 24, Arturo Galarza, 39, and Daniel Jasso, 30, are set to be arraigned in Superior Court on June 4.

All five face life in prison if convicted of kidnapping during a carjacking and assault with a Taser.

Quezada is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and personal use of a firearm, while Martinez is additionally charged with personal use of a gun.

The male victim, Joshua Castrillon, testified that his then-girlfriend, Sylvia Arellano, originally covered for him after the couple was carjacked on Feb. 2.

Castrillon said he told Arellano that he would be going away for a few days and that he was in some trouble, but didn't tell her he owed money on a drug debt.

According to testimony at the defendants' three-day preliminary hearing, Castrillon was a known drug dealer who was responsible for a lost load of marijuana, and Galarza and Jasso arranged for the other three defendants to pull off the carjacking in broad daylight.

Arellano testified Tuesday that she and Castrillon were going to breakfast when three men wearing dark clothing and gloves jumped into her BMW.

"Joshua asked me, `Are they going to rob us or carjack us?"' the woman testified.

Arellano said one of the carjackers had a Taser and another had a gun, and Castrillon was ordered to the back seat. She said she was "very scared" because she didn't know what was happening.

As one of the carjackers drove toward eastbound Interstate 8, another carjacker in the back seat demanded her cell phone, then shot her with the Taser from behind, she said.

"I felt something in my back like a sting," Arellano testified.

She said the car went speeding down the freeway, then the driver yelled "Get ready!" and Quezada, Ortiz, and Martinez jumped out of the car at the center divide.

The defendants quickly hurdled the barrier and ran across the westbound lanes of Interstate 8 and were later captured.

Police who pulled up on the scene first thought the couple were suspects, but realized they were victims of a crime, Arellano testified.

Prosecutors allege the defendants traveled from Los Angeles to San Diego to commit the crimes.

Judge Stephanie Sontag ruled sufficient evidence was presented during the hearing to order the defendants to stand trial.

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