Two men accused in a drug-related home invasion robbery in Lake Elsinore that culminated in a gunfight in which their
accomplice was killed each pleaded not guilty today to murder and other charges.
Oscar Garcia Bustos and Jose Luis Pacheco, both 21 years old, were arrested earlier this month following a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigation.
Along with murder, Bustos and Pacheco are each charged with two counts of attempted robbery and one count each of shooting at an occupied dwelling and burglary.
Under state law, an accomplice can be charged with murder when a partner-in-crime is killed taking part in the same illegal act.
Bustos and Pacheco were arraigned before Superior Court Judge Helios Hernandez at the Riverside Hall of Justice. Hernandez scheduled a felony settlement conference for Jan. 8 and left each man’s bail set at $1 million.
Both defendants are being held at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.
According to sheriff’s officials, on the night of Nov. 7, Bustos, Pacheco and an 18-year-old man whose name has not been made public at the
request of detectives went to a house in the 53000 block of Beales Street.
Investigators alleged the property was used for illegal marijuana transactions.
The defendants, armed with handguns, allegedly tried to force their way into the home, prompting one of the occupants to open fire on the men, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Wally Clear.
The defendants returned fire, and during the exchange, the 18-year-old was mortally wounded, Clear said.
The would-be robbers fled the property, dropping the younger man at a Riverside hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to Clear.
Bustos and Pacheco were arrested without incident the following day. One of the occupants of the home, 45-year-old Elisaldo Martinez, was
also arrested — on suspicion of possession of drugs for sale. He has since been charged with illegal cultivation of marijuana and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and narcotics.
Sheriff’s officials have still not confirmed whether Martinez was the one who shot at the defendants. He’s being held in lieu of $25,000 at the Southwest Detention Center and is slated to appear in court next on Dec. 22.