A Santa Maria jury has found five men guilty of a majority of charges in crimes linked to the violent MS-13 gang.
The verdicts on the charges, which included murder, were announced Thursday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria.
Each man was charged with at least 40 violent felony crimes. Among the charges were first-degree murder and criminal street gang conspiracy.
The men are Juan Carlos Urbina Serrano, Marcos Manuel Sanchez Torres, Luis Mejia Orellana, Tranquilino Robles Morales and Juan Carlos Lozano Membreno.
They are five of the 10 men who are being tried for 10 alleged murders that occurred between 2013 and 2016 in Santa Maria.
KEYT-TV reported the jury found Mr. Serrano guilty on all charges. A guilty verdict was rendered for Mr. Torres on all but three charges.
The jury found Mr. Orellana guilty on all but two charges.
KEYT reported Mr Morales was found not guilty on all but 10 charges, which included the first-degree murder of five people.
The Santa Maria jury found Mr. Membreno guilty on all but 11 charges, which included first- and second-degree murder.
The men also faced various charge enhancements, including waiting to intentionally murder the victim, infliction of torture, and actively killing while being an active participant in a criminal street gang.
The case will continue in Santa Maria on Monday morning to decide on a few other details.
The men were arrested during the early morning hours on March 3, 2016 after a months-long investigation. Multiple arrest orders were carried out by more than 150 law enforcement officers and federal agents.
Approximately 40 people were detained, and a dozen others were arrested by officers and agents from Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, Kern County and Columbus, Ohio, during Operation Matador.
The 10 men are being tried separately as two groups due to limited courtroom space. The other five defendants will be tried in a Santa Barbara court.
The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office told the News-Press Friday that no news release has been issued on Thursday’s verdict because the Santa Barbara trial is still pending.