Court documents paint a fierce picture of a man who was recently arrested in Oak Harbor on warrants.
Oscar Sampedro is a leading member of the Sureno gang, has a history of evading law enforcement, was suspected of shooting someone in the leg years ago and allegedly plotted to kill a Island County corrections deputy and escape from jail in 2016, according to a declaration in support of allowing Sampedro to be placed in restraints during court hearings.
He is widely known as “Diablo” and has horns tattooed on his head, court documents state.
Island County Superior Court Judge Christon Skinner made the unusual decision to revoke Sampedro’s bail completely during a hearing this week. The judge found that there was clear and convincing evidence that Sampedro willfully violating pre-trial conditions. Sampedro was surrounded by three correction s deputies when he appeared in court via video from the Island County jail.
Sampedro is facing charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and attempting to elude police in two different cases in Island County Superior Court. Even though the cases are non-violent, Sampedro could face more than 10 years in prison if convicted of the charges due to his criminal history.
Sampedro had been on the lam for more than seven months when Oak Harbor police arrested him in an apartment March 9.
While defendants generally appear in court unshackled, the prosecutor’s office asked a judge, on behalf of the jail, to allow guards to keep him in mechanical restraints for hearings. The defense opposed the request, but the judge agreed with the prosecution for safety reasons.
Jail Chief Jose Briones wrote a declaration supporting the request for restraints. In it, he explained that he has extensive experience in dealing with gangs from his years working in the state prison system; he holds “gatekeeper level access” with the state Gang Task Force as a “gang validation expert.”
Briones wrote that the state Department of Corrections identified Sampedro as a validated member of the Sureno gang in its security-threat database.
According to Briones, the Sureno is an umbrella organization for Latino street and prison gangs under the Mexican mafia. Briones wrote that Sampedro indicated to him that he was important within the Sureno and that others in the group would follow his orders at any state prison he was sent to.
In addition, Briones wrote that Sampedro planned an escape when he was in Island County Jail for a 2016 robbery. Jail staff was able to prevent any violence after hearing from multiple confidential informants about the plans.
“Information received indicated that Sampedro along with four other gang members were going to attempt to disarm and murder the deputy escorting them to superior court,” Briones wrote.