SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Two alleged gang members have been charged in federal court with a 2018 murder in San Francisco and with five other attempted murders, according to prosecutors.
Jonathan Escobar, 24, of Richmond, and Jose Aguilar, 32, of San Francisco were charged in an April 15 indictment unsealed on Wednesday. The two are accused of using a firearm in a premeditated killing of a victim on August 11, 2018, and that the murder was in the aid of racketeering and committed for the purpose of maintaining and increasing their position in the criminal enterprise.READ MORE: Two Die In East Oakland Sunday Night Shooting
The complaint also alleges that Escobar and Aguilar attempted to murder five additional victims in order to move up in the ranks of their Sureños gang.
The charges were announced Wednesday in a press statement from Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Stephanie Hinds and Homeland Security Investigations San Francisco Special Agent in Charge Tatum King.
Escobar and Aguilar are alleged members of the 19th Street/16th Street Sureños, an amalgamation of two gangs that claimed “territory” bounded by 19th St. to the South, 16th Street to the North, Folsom Street to the East, and Dolores Street to the West.READ MORE: Steph Curry, Draymond Green Ready For Play-In Game; Warriors To Take On Lakers Wednesday Night
Gang members operated in the Mission District around 16th St. and Mission, as well as in Dolores Park and Franklin Square Park.
According to the complaint, the gang sought to maintain control of drug distribution in those areas and engaged in narcotics sales, robberies, and other violent crimes, including murder.
“Street gangs resort to violence to assert control over peaceful neighborhoods, expecting to create safe havens for drug trafficking, robberies, and other violent crimes,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Hinds in a prepared statement. “In this case, the indictment describes how firearms are deliberately used to achieve these goals through murder and attempted murder. This office will continue to partner with local and federal law enforcement agencies to wrest control of our streets from the gangs who threaten our residents.”
E Escobar and Aguilar were arrested on Tuesday and made their initial federal court appearance Wednesday morning. The judge ordered both defendants to remain in custody pending trial.MORE NEWS: Demonstrators Call on San Francisco to Keep Great Highway Closed to Cars
The next federal court appearance is scheduled for May 12. If convicted of the murder count, both defendants are eligible for the death penalty, and if convicted of the attempted murder count, both defendants can be sentenced to a maximum prison term of life and a minimum term of not less than ten years.