More-severe charge tied to July stabbing

An 18-year-old Medford woman was arrested earlier this week on a warrant charging her with felony assault related to a possible gang stabbing that happened in July.

Helen Ortega-Arechiga was taken into custody at her home on Prune Street after police learned she had been staying there with her parents, Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said.

Ortega-Arechiga was originally arrested in July for reportedly taking part in a gang-related stabbing at the corner of Prune and Plum streets in Medford.

She was among 10 to 15 people fighting in the street when police arrived.

The crowd fled when officers rolled onto the scene, leaving behind Francisco Javier Rodriguez, 27, who had suffered a deep stab wound to the torso during the melee, Budreau said.

Dennis Guinac, 16, of the 1800 block of Keene Way Drive, Medford, is suspected of stabbing Rodriguez. He was lodged in the Jackson County Jail on second-degree assault and riot charges.

Police said Rodriguez had been walking with a friend past a party at about 1:30 a.m. July 7 when several Norteño gang members outside began yelling at them for not being in the gang, police said.

Officers originally charged Ortega-Arechiga with third-degree assault and riot, but as the investigation continued, her alleged part in the crime began to become clearer, Budreau said.

"It seems that she struck the victim as he was lying on the ground after being stabbed," Budreau said.

"He could have suffered serious injuries from all of this," Budreau said.

The case was taken before a Jackson County grand jury and the second-degree assault charge was added against Ortega-Arechiga, Budreau said. She was arrested Monday and is being held on $1 million bail in the Jackson County Jail.

Budreau said Rodriguez was attacked for simply not being in a gang.

If convicted of the second-degree assault charge, Ortega-Arechiga would spend a mandatory minimum five years, 10 months in prison under Oregon Measure 11 sentencing guidelines.

"This is a very involved case that has a lot of moving parts," Budreau said.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email

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