Man Pleads Guilty in Racially Motivated Carjacking in Santa Ana

Judge holding gavel in courtroom

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SANTA ANA (CNS) - A 19-year-old man who took part in a racially motivated carjacking in Santa Ana pleaded guilty today and was immediately sentenced to a year in jail, or credit for time already served behind bars, and placed on two years of formal probation.

Moises Gonzalo Ruizvargas pleaded guilty to carjacking and violation of civil rights with violent injury, both felonies, with a sentencing enhancement for a hate crime.

Co-defendant Brian Alexandro Estradaduran, 19, is charged with carjacking and committing a secondary offense while released from custody. He is due in court June 21 for a pretrial hearing in the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

A 17-year-old boy was also arrested in connection with the attack, according to Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, but the status of his case was unclear.

The victim was leaving her boyfriend's house about 11:20 p.m. Nov. 30 when the trio confronted her, indicating they had a gun, Bertagna alleged. The woman feared she would be kidnapped, so she “dropped her stuff and split and they jumped into her newer-model BMW,'' he said.

The thieves “apparently didn't know how to drive it so it stalled down the road,'' and an officer who spotted the vehicle arrested the trio, Bertagna said.

“They made statements in interviews that they picked her because of her race,'' Bertagna said of the victim, who is Black.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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