A former Lompoc gang member, who was jumped into Westside VLP at age 12, took the stand Tuesday to testify against an alleged gang leader in connection with the kidnapping and torture of a Lompoc man over a drug debt.
The witness, identified by the gang moniker “Little Boo Boo” rather than his name for safety reasons, told the jury that he paid tax money directly to Raymond Daniel Macias, who authorities allege is one of the top leaders of the Santa Barbara criminal street gang the Eastside Krazies. He is also allegedly a member of the Surenos street gang responsible for organizing the collection of drug sales taxes from street gangs for the Mexican Mafia.
Macias, who is known by the gang moniker “Boxer,” was present in court and seated beside his defense attorney Michael Scott. He is charged with four felony counts: kidnapping for extortion, torture, solicitation of extortion and sale of methamphetamine.
On trial with Macias in Judge Patricia Kelly’s courtroom is Luis Alfredo Almanza, who is known by the gang moniker “Lucky. Almanza is charged with two felony counts: kidnapping for extortion, torture and use of a deadly weapon, a firearm.
From the witness stand “Little Boo Boo,” covered with gang tattoos over his head, neck, face and arms, and dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, complete with wrist and ankle shackles, answered questions from Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen, who is prosecuting the case.
The prosecution’s witness told the jury that Macias was running all of Santa Barbara County in 2011 at the same time he was collecting drug taxes in Lompoc. The former self-described gang-banger testified that he had paid taxes directly to Macias two or three times during that period.
“Little Boo Boo,” who is 29 now and has spent more than 15 years of his life incarcerated due to his gang affiliation, said from the stand that he left the gang life on Oct. 6, 2012, for his daughter, whose mother is Macias’ sister.
“I’m going to try to be a daddy to my little girl,” he said. “I want something better for her.”
The third generation gang member said he first shot someone at age 12. During his first prison term “Little Boo Boo” testified that he stabbed five people for a variety of reasons and one during his second prison term.
“I had a good reputation,” he said.
A “good reputation” in gang terms means a violent reputation.
Because of his testimony against the gang he once considered family, he refers to himself as a “marked man” a “rat” and “trash.”
For his testimony “Little Boo Boo” received a seven-year sentence with credit for time served and a strike, his second. He will not be on parole when he is released. He will not be able to return to Lompoc for safety reasons.
“I’m walking out with a clean slate ... a free man which I am grateful for,” he said regarding the plea deal with the DA’s office.
Prior to his testimony he participated in the gang prevention documentary entitled “Life Facing Bars.”
“If I could help one kid it’s worth it,” he said.
In 2009 he began having his tattoos, many of which he got when he was 19, removed from his face and head and will continue to complete the process when he is released.
In exchange for his testimony “Little Boo Boo” was given use immunity, which means any crimes he testifies about in court he cannot be prosecuted, for according to Scott.
Defense attorney Scott cross-examined the former gang member for approximately one hour while the jury looked on attentively and both defendants, wearing dress shirts and slacks and unshackled, took notes.
As part of his plea deal “Little Boo Boo,” who has been in County Jail since August 2011, expects to be released in a couple of months.
Scott’s cross examination will resume on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in Department 8 of the Superior Court in Santa Maria.