Crime

Man faces attempted murder charge for Blaine drive-by in 2011

A gang member was transferred from a state prison to a Whatcom County jail cell Tuesday, July 28, to face attempted murder charges for a drive-by shooting from almost four years ago in Blaine.

This week Steve “Silencer” Ibarra, 21, finished serving a three-year sentence for another gang-related shooting in Bellingham.

Sheriff’s detectives have long believed he was the gunman in a drive-by shooting Dec. 4, 2011, at the Golden Nut Company, 1555 Odell Road.

On that evening around 6:30 p.m. a worker at the peanut roasting factory, Joe Anthony Guevara-Medina, an 18th Street gang member, finished his shift and found the passenger-side tires of his car had been slashed, according to charging papers from 2011.

So he called his mother for a ride. Then an old pickup came around the corner. The door swung open, a gunshot rang out, and Guevara-Medina saw blood flowing from his chest. He survived the shooting.

At the hospital, Guevara-Medina told deputies he’d been threatened earlier that day by members of the Brown Pride Surenos gang. The two gangs had been in a feud since a shooting at the Northwest Washington Fair a few months earlier.

Three men — Rogelio “Cuete” Fernando-Solano; Adrian Arturo “Bowser” Montelongo; and Jose Luis “Joker” Santos-Morales — were charged in connection to the drive-by. All three men pleaded guilty to reduced charges. Fernando-Solano, the driver, received a 21-month sentence; Montelongo, 23, was sentenced to 18 months for assault in the second degree; Santos-Morales was handed a nine-month sentence for assault in the third degree.

The chief criminal deputy prosecutor at the time, Mac Setter, said a fourth man in the car, Ibarra, likely was the gunman. The prosecutor’s office declined to file an attempted murder charge against Ibarra, however, until he served his sentence in another case.

A few months after the drive-by, Ibarra, then 19, and Alfredo “Lil Shadow” Santos-Flores went to an apartment in the 1900 block of Fraser Street, according to charging papers. Ibarra brought a shotgun that morning, April 9, 2012. Santos-Flores had a rifle.

They knocked on an apartment door and confronted a relative of a rival gang member. At gunpoint they demanded to know the gang member’s whereabouts. The victim grabbed the shotgun barrel. Ibarra pulled the trigger, but the shot missed. The man wrestled away the gun.

The two suspects fled but ditched their car about a block away on Woburn Street. They were arrested. Santos-Flores was sentenced to three years in prison. Ibarra was sentenced to three years and 10 months.

A formal charge of attempted murder in the first degree should be filed against Ibarra this week, County Prosecutor Dave McEachran said on Tuesday.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Dispatcher blog at bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher-blog and follow him on Twitter at @bhamcaleb.

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