Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Orange County District Attorney
Press Release, For Immediate Release: December 7, 2012
Contacts:, Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff, Office: 714-347-8408, Cell: 714-292-2718
Farrah Emami, Spokesperson, Office: 714-347-8405, Cell: 714-323-4486

GANG MEMBER SENTENCED TO 50 YEARS TO LIFE FOR SHOOTING-MURDER OF INNOCENT RESTAURANT PATRON IN SANTA ANA

SANTA ANA – A gang member was sentenced today to 50 years to life in state prison for the unprovoked shooting-murder of an innocent man outside of a restaurant in Santa Ana. Ivan Sanchez, 23, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury Sept. 27, 2012, of one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death.

Co-defendant Ricardo Guerra Rocha, 19, Santa Ana, was 17 years old at the time of the crime and charged as an adult. He was found guilty by a jury June 27, 2012, of one felony count of murder, one felony count of street terrorism, and sentencing enhancements for the vicarious discharge of a firearm causing death by a gang member and criminal street gang activity (Case #11CF0470). Ricardo Rocha was sentenced Sept. 7, 2012, to 40 years to life in state prison.

Ricardo Rocha’s sister Maria Isabel Rocha, 30, Santa Ana, pleaded guilty Oct. 10. 2012, to one felony count of voluntary manslaughter with a sentencing enhancement for criminal street gang activity (Case #11CF0494). She was sentenced to 16 years in state prison.

On the night of Feb. 13, 2011, Sanchez, Rocha, and Rocha, got into an argument with an unknown group of people at Mariscos La Ola restaurant in Santa Ana over which state in Mexico was better. The three defendants left the restaurant, drove to get a firearm, and returned to the parking lot several minutes later.

When the defendants arrived back at the restaurant, 35-year-old Esteban Navarrete was leaving and getting into his car with his wife and friend. He did not know the defendants. Maria Rocha waited in the car as the get-away driver while gang members Sanchez and Ricardo got out of the car and approached the victims’ vehicle. Navarrete, who is not associated with any criminal street gang, got out of his vehicle to explain that he and his passengers were not involved in the earlier argument. Sanchez murdered Navarrete by shooting him one time in the head. He fired several more shots, but the other victims were not hit.

The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) investigated this case. On Feb. 17, 2011, Sanchez was arrested after SAPD performed a traffic stop of a vehicle driven by now-22-year-old Manuel Toscano. Toscano attempted to drive Sanchez to Mexico to escape arrest and avoid punishment. Toscano has been charged (Case #11CF0464) with one felony count of accessory after the fact and faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison if convicted. Maria and Ricardo Rocha turned themselves in to SAPD on Feb. 18, 2011.

At the sentencing today, the victim’s parents and wife gave impact statements and said that Navarrete was an innocent man and that they miss their son and husband.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark Geller of the Gang Unit prosecuted this case.

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Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701



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Editor
The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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