Gang member who tortured man sentenced

YAKIMA — A 23-year-old gang member who used a propane torch to torture man he thought was a police informant has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reported that Antonio Cazares Villegas was sentenced Monday in Yakima County Superior Court to terms laid out in a plea agreement he and two associates entered last week.

Authorities say Villegas, 23-year-old Julian Romero Rivera, and 25-year-old David Mederos Loreto detained two fellow La Raza gang members in March because they believed one of them was a police informant. The three beat the suspected informant and, at one point, used a propane torch to burn the skin above his eye while they phoned his family in Mexico to negotiate a ransom for his life.

County prosecutors sought the plea agreement after a judge ruled against allowing the men’s gang membership to be discussed in court.

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