Former Ramos gang pal testifies in triple-murder case 

click to enlarge Edwin Ramos - COURTESY ABC 7
  • Courtesy ABC 7
  • Edwin Ramos

The former brother-in-law and gang associate of triple-murder suspect Edwin Ramos told jurors Thursday that violating certain gang rules — including a ban on drive-by shootings like the one Ramos is accused of committing — were punishable by death at the hands of the gang.

Abraham Martinez is receiving immunity from prosecution in return for his testimony at Ramos’ trial for the June 22, 2008 fatal drive-by shootings of Anthony Bologna, 48, and his two sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16.

Prosecutors say the Bolognas were mistaken for members of a rival to their gang, MS-13. But Martinez said the gang prohibited drive-by shootings because of the danger of injuring people who weren’t gang members. Such innocent victims attract more police attention, Martinez said.

Rule violations like drive-bys or snitching to law enforcement “earns you a green light,” he said, referring to gang slang for being targeted for a hit.

“You can’t hurt innocent people,” Martinez said. “You’re going to get green-lighted.”

Martinez said gang members who are attacked by rivals are never to go to police. “You’re a gang member,” he said. “You take retaliation into your own hands.”

Prosecutors allege that after a fellow MS-13 member was shot earlier in the day, Ramos did just that — driving around the Excelsior District, “hunting” for rival Norteños. He encountered the Bologna family, who were driving home from a picnic, and after glaring at them, allegedly opened fire.

Ramos, 25, has said that a gang member nicknamed “Flaco” who was also in the car fired the gun.

Martinez, 22, whose sister was formerly married to Ramos, said he was brought into the gang culture as a young boy by other family members. After meeting Ramos in 2002, he said, Ramos and two other members of MS-13’s 20th Street clique in the Mission District later formally “jumped” him into the gang with a 20-second beating.

By 2007, new gang leaders were enforcing the gang’s rules more strictly, Martinez testified.

Both Flaco and the other gang member shot earlier that day are reputed members of PLS or Pasadena Loco Sureños, another MS-13 clique based in the East Bay, with an even more violent reputation.

Martinez testified that in 2006, Ramos, nicknamed “Popeye,” caused a stir when he decided to leave 20th Street and join PLS.

“It was the issue that Popeye had gotten jumped into Pasadena before he got jumped out of 20th Street,” another violation, said Martinez, who is in federal custody.

Ramos’ attorney Marla Zamora has denied that Ramos ever joined PLS. She says he left MS-13 in 2006 but still maintained friendships with some of its members.

“A rat is a rat,” is how Zamora described Martinez’s testimony to reporters Thursday. “It’s beyond snitching … it’s disgusting.”

Cross-examination is expected on Monday.

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