Jose Aguilar, also known as Slim, has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for his involvement in a gang-related murder that occurred on August 11, 2018. This comes just two months after his co-defendant, Jonathan Escobar, was sentenced to serve 26 years in prison for his role in the same crime. Aguilar, a member of the 19th Street/16th Street Sureños gang, admitted to scouting for rival gang members when he and his fellow gang members encountered Gerson Romero and his friends. Believing them to be members of a rival gang, Aguilar and Escobar opened fire, killing Romero and injuring three others. The sentencing serves as a reminder that violent street gangs will face severe consequences for their actions and that the streets of San Francisco will not be surrendered to gang violence.
Jose Aguilar sentenced to serve 22 years in prison
Co-defendant Jonathan Escobar previously sentenced to 26 years
In a recent development, Jose Aguilar has been sentenced to serve 22 years in prison for his involvement in the murder of Gerson Romero on August 11, 2018. This sentencing comes just two months after his co-defendant, Jonathan Escobar, was sentenced to serve 26 years for his role in the crime. The sentence was handed down by United States District Judge Vince Chhabria.
U.S. Attorney Ramsey vows to combat violent street gangs
Special Agent in Charge King highlights the importance of justice in gang-related cases
U.S. Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey has vowed to combat violent street gangs and ensure that their members face the consequences of their actions. He expressed that gang violence will not lead to personal profit and that severe and impactful sentences will be sought for such cases. Special Agent in Charge Tatum King emphasized the importance of justice in gang-related cases, stating that criminal gang members will face justice for menacing communities through murder and other violent crimes. Both officials expressed their commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of the community.
Aguilar’s Admission of Guilt
Aguilar admits membership in the 19th Street/16th Street Sureños gang
Details of the gang’s territory and criminal activities
Jose Aguilar, also known as Slim, has admitted his membership in the 19th Street/16th Street Sureños gang. As part of his plea agreement, Aguilar acknowledged that on the day of the murder, he was a member of this San Francisco street gang. The gang operated within specific territories, bounded by 19th Street to the South, 16th Street to the North, Folsom Street to the East, and Dolores Street to the West. They were also active in Dolores Park and Franklin Square Park, also known as Bryant Park.
Aguilar further admitted that the street gang operated as a racketeering enterprise, engaging in various criminal activities to maintain control of designated neighborhoods. These activities included acts of violence, drug trafficking, and robberies. Aguilar’s admission sheds light on the extent and nature of the gang’s criminal activities and their impact on the community.
The Murder Incident
Aguilar and gang members seeking to retaliate for a drive-by shooting
Identification of Gerson Romero as a rival gang member
The shooting and subsequent victims
On the fateful day of August 11, 2018, Aguilar and his fellow gang members were seeking to retaliate for a drive-by shooting. They identified Gerson Romero and several of his friends as rival gang members. Aguilar and his accomplices, including Jonathan Escobar, concluded that Romero and the others were members of a rival gang. They took aim and fired their weapons when they spotted Romero, who was accompanied by his friends.
Tragically, Romero lost his life as a result of the shooting. Aguilar and Escobar continued to fire even after Romero had fallen, displaying a callous disregard for human life. In addition to Romero’s death, three other victims were struck and wounded, while two pedestrians fled from the gunfire. The incident demonstrates the devastating consequences of gang-related violence and the importance of addressing it effectively.
Indictment and Charges
Grand jury indictment of Aguilar and Escobar
Charges of murder and firearm violations
Following the murder incident, a federal grand jury indicted Aguilar and Escobar. Both defendants were charged with murder using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in death, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(j)(1) and 2. Additionally, they were charged with an additional firearm violation for the use and carrying of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A) and 2. The indictment reflects the seriousness of their actions and the legal consequences they now face.
Escobar’s Plea and Sentencing
Escobar pleads guilty to his role in the crime
Judge Chhabria sentences Escobar to 26 years in prison
Jonathan Escobar, Aguilar’s co-defendant, pleaded guilty to his role in the crime on April 5, 2023. Judge Chhabria subsequently sentenced Escobar to 26 years in prison for his involvement in the murder and two other crimes committed while he was in pretrial detention. Escobar’s guilty plea and sentencing indicate his acknowledgment of his actions and the impact they had on the victims and the community.
Prosecution and Investigation
Organized Crime Strike Force handling the prosecution
Homeland Security Investigations and San Francisco Police Department’s involvement in the investigation
The Organized Crime Strike Force of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California is responsible for prosecuting the case against Aguilar and Escobar. Their dedicated efforts reflect the commitment to hold criminal gang members accountable for their actions.
The investigation has been a collaborative effort between Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the San Francisco Police Department. HSI’s Special Agent in Charge Tatum King and the men and women of HSI, along with the San Francisco Police Department’s Gang Task Force and Homicide Unit, have worked diligently to gather evidence, identify the perpetrators, and ensure a thorough and comprehensive investigation.
Case Background and Context
The role of gang violence in San Francisco
Efforts to combat gang-related crimes
The case of Jose Aguilar and Jonathan Escobar highlights the persistent issue of gang violence in San Francisco. Gangs like the 19th Street/16th Street Sureños terrorize communities, engaging in criminal activities and causing harm to innocent individuals. The murder incident involving Gerson Romero is a tragic reminder of the devastating consequences of gang violence.
Law enforcement agencies, community organizations, and other stakeholders have made concerted efforts to combat gang-related crimes in San Francisco. Through proactive measures, such as intelligence-led policing, community outreach, and targeted intervention programs, they aim to disrupt and dismantle gangs, prevent recruitment, and provide support to at-risk individuals. The case serves as a reminder to the community and law enforcement agencies of the ongoing need for such efforts.
Impact and Message Sent
The impact of the sentencing on criminal gang members
Message sent to communities affected by gang violence
The sentencing of Jose Aguilar to 22 years in prison and Jonathan Escobar to 26 years sends a strong message to criminal gang members. It demonstrates that the justice system will not tolerate gang-related violence and will impose severe penalties on those involved. The lengthy prison terms serve as a deterrent and a warning to others contemplating or engaged in similar criminal activities.
For the communities affected by gang violence, the sentencing provides some solace and closure. It sends a message that their safety and well-being are priorities, and that law enforcement agencies are actively working to address the issue. The commitment to combating gang-related crimes and seeking justice for victims is evident, providing a sense of reassurance to the community.
The sentencing of Jose Aguilar and Jonathan Escobar, along with the prosecution and investigation efforts, reflects the commitment of law enforcement agencies to combat gang-related crimes and ensure justice for the victims and the community. Through proactive measures, such as intelligence-led policing and targeted intervention programs, they aim to disrupt and dismantle gangs, prevent recruitment, and address the root causes of gang violence.
The case serves as a reminder of the devastating consequences of gang violence and the importance of efforts to address it effectively. The sentencing of Aguilar and Escobar sends a strong message to criminal gang members that their actions will have severe consequences. It also sends a message of support and reassurance to the communities affected by gang violence, emphasizing their safety and well-being as top priorities.
In conclusion, the case highlights the significance of conviction and imprisonment in addressing gang-related crimes and promoting community safety. The commitment of law enforcement agencies and the justice system to combat gang violence is evident, and their efforts will continue to make a positive impact on affected communities.