Long Beach Police Department arrests 4 in connection with June killings

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When investigating a pair of murders, the Long Beach Police Department found multiple guns and drugs, police said. (LBPD)

When investigating a pair of murders, the Long Beach Police Department found multiple guns and drugs, police said. (LBPD)

The Long Beach Police Department on Thursday arrested four men in connection with a pair of killings in June, the department announced Saturday.

The June 24 killing of Rafael Araiza, 22, and June 25 killing of Reginald English, 31, started a three-month investigation for the LBPD’s Homicide Detail.

Police arrested Long Beach resident Gustavo Soto, 21, in a Wilmington traffic stop, Long Beach resident Edilberto Valadez, 29, at his residence and Downey resident Eduardo Rodriguez, 32, at his home. Downey resident Ernesto Ramirez, 30, was already in jail on an unrelated charge.

Soto and Rodriguez each face one count of murder, one count of kidnapping and one count of being an accessory after the fact.

Valadez and Ramirez each face one murder charge, though Valadez was also arrested on two unrelated misdemeanor warrants.

All four are being held at the Los Angeles County Jail, Soto on $2 million bail, Valadez on $2,016,500 bail and Ramirez on $2 million bail. Rodriguez is being held without bail.

This week, police also procured warrants and searched five residences, where they found four handguns, two rifles, high-capacity magazines, body armor, ammunition and methamphetamine, including paraphernalia for weighing, packaging and distributing the drug, police said.

Police said forensic studies will be used to determine if the recovered guns are connected to the murders.

The LBPD plans to present its findings to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office this week for potential charges.

Beyond the two June killings, which might be gang-related, the four men who were arrested could have perpetrated other killings, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the LBPD Homicide Detail at 562-570-7244. Anonymous tips can be submitted through “LA Crime Stoppers” by calling 800-222-TIPS (8477) or by visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org.

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