WENATCHEE — A Cashmere High School student faces an enhanced criminal charge after he was accused of threatening another teen with a knife over the wearing of gang colors.
The revised charge of second-degree assault filed last week, claims Jose M. Gaitan-Castro, 18, pressed a pocketknife against the ribs of a 14-year-old fellow student because the victim wore blue — a color associated with rivals of Norteño street gangs.
The aggravating factor claims Gaitan committed the assault to benefit a criminal street gang. That enhancement could be used to assign a higher-than-normal sentence if Gaitan is convicted. The standard maximum for first-time offenders is about nine months’ imprisonment.
The incident took place off-campus Aug. 30 as students left classes at Cashmere High. Chelan County sheriff’s deputies said the victim, one eyewitness and Gaitan himself told them he threatened the victim with the knife for wearing blue clothing, and urged him to “represent” Norteño gang interests. Norteño gangmembers often wear the color red.
Gaitan remains jailed on $50,000 bond. He is barred from returning to Cashmere schools, and faces possible deportation as a result of his arrest.