Violent Attacks in East Valley Linked to Gilbert Goons: Five Suspects Arrested

PHOENIX (AP) – Five people have been arrested in connection with violent assaults on minors in the East Valley last year, with one suspect admitting affiliation with the notorious gang Gilbert Goons.

The Pinal County Sheriff’s office announced the arrest of Jacob Pennington, 20, of Gilbert, for his involvement in a November attack in San Tan Valley. According to a probable cause statement, Pennington confessed to being associated with the Gilbert Goons.

In a separate incident, Christopher Fantastic, 18, was one of four suspects arrested in connection with an August assault in Gilbert. An additional three suspects were arrested for the same assault shortly after Fantastic’s arrest. Aris Arredondo, 18, and two 16-year-olds were charged with aggravated robbery and aggravated assault.

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show that investigators used video and other evidence to identify Pennington as the primary aggressor in the Nov. 18 attack on a 16-year-old boy. Video footage showed multiple people assaulting the victim in a desert area near Wagon Wheel Road and Sun Dance Drive at about 9:45 p.m. that evening.

Additionally, Fantastic was booked on one count each of assault with intent to injure and aggravated robbery. Maricopa County online jail records showed that his bond was set at $25,000 and his next court appearance was scheduled for Jan. 17, although court records for his arrest have been sealed.

The remaining paragraphs continue to detail the claims of the Pinal County Sheriff’s office, the investigation into previous cases and the apparent connection between the current suspects and the Gilbert Goons.

Correcting earlier information, the Pinal County assault actually occurred in San Tan Valley rather than Queen Creek. The investigation into the death of Queen Creek high school student Preston Lord is ongoing, although it was noted that the Fantastic case is unrelated. There have been no updates from law enforcement on this investigation.

The investigation is ongoing with charges submitted, and Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell indicated that it will take time to sort through the submission, which included a large number of documents and evidence.

Restating the key facts, five arrests have been made in connection with violent assaults on minors in the East Valley. The suspects are facing a range of charges including aggravated assault and robbery. The investigation is ongoing, and charges have been submitted in connection to the death of Preston Lord.