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Hot! After Dismissal Concord Norteños Hit With New Attempted Murder Charges

Two alleged gang members who beat a conspiracy case on a technicality weeks ago have been hit with a new, more serious string of charges that allege they conspired to murder two people last summer.

Armando Amaro, 21, and Jesse Loyola, 23, were charged with attempted murder, conspiracy, street terrorism, and a slew of other felony charges related to two shootings that occurred a week apart in June 2016. The charges are the latest twist in a saga of a criminal case called Operation Omega Red that began last August when Contra Costa authorities — led by Concord police and the FBI — conducted a wiretap investigation and series of raids, arresting 24 alleged Norteños on various charges.

But since then, prosecutors have run into problems, starting when a jury hung on a conspiracy case against four of the defendants. Next, Amaro and Loyola, along with two others, were twice granted dismissals in a previous conspiracy case that alleged they plotted to shoot rival gang members in Concord and engaged in two police chases where guns were thrown from the car. That case was dismissed first because prosecutors failed to turn over wiretap evidence on time, and then over a legal technicality resulting from a courtroom scheduling conflict that a judge ruled violated the defendants’ rights.

Days after charges against Loyola and Amaro were dismissed in April, though, prosecutors moved on the attempted murder case, filing seven felony charges against the pair. If convicted of all counts they face a possible life sentence.

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