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5 Valley Men Are Linked to Gang Killings

May 21, 2003|Andrew Blankstein | Times Staff Writer

Detectives alleged Tuesday that five men arrested earlier this year on robbery and weapons charges are responsible for a series of gang-related slayings in the San Fernando Valley dating back to last November.

Hector Alvarenga, 20, and Pablo Osorio, 27, both of Panorama City; Juan Ortiz, 20, and Antonio Torres, 20, both of Van Nuys; and German Coreas, 24, of Northridge face a combination of murder and attempted murder charges, stemming from six slayings or attempted slayings, police said.

"These were brutal crimes," said homicide Det. Rick Swanston of the Los Angeles Police Department's West Valley Division. "These were coldblooded crimes. They just walked up to people and killed them."

The first slaying was reported Nov. 11 when Ruben Rizo, 25, was shot several times at the corner of Loma Verde Avenue and Valerio Street in Canoga Park, Swanston said. Torres and Coreas have been charged in that crime.

On Feb. 10, on Bryant Street in Northridge, Pablo Araguin was shot by four suspects who fled in a green Volkswagen Jetta.

Four days later, Gustavo Chavez, 24, was shot, allegedly by Ortiz, at a gas station on Reseda Boulevard, police said. Again, the suspects fled in a green Volkswagen Jetta.

The same vehicle was spotted an hour later fleeing the scene of a fatal shooting in which Gino Ayala, 22, was shot in the head while walking in the 13500 block of Vanowen Street in Van Nuys.

Detectives said they got their break when Ortiz, Osorio and Torres were arrested Feb. 17 by Devonshire Division patrol officers who stopped the green Jetta for a traffic violation and recovered two guns from the vehicle. The guns were tied to several of the shootings. Alvarenga and Coreas were arrested Feb. 21 on robbery charges.

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