Fresno County Gang Member Ordered a Hit From Prison. He Just Received His Fourth Life Sentence Since 2017. - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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Fresno County Gang Member Ordered a Hit From Prison. He Just Received His Fourth Life Sentence Since 2017.

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Jesse Aguilar was sentenced to 25-years-to-life in Fresno Superior Court by Judge Jeffrey Hamilton on Wednesday. (Shutterstock)
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A 47-year-old state prison inmate received a 25-years-to-life sentence on Wednesday for trying to orchestrate the murder of a rival gang member in October, the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

Jesse Aguilar booking photo

Jesse Aguilar

It was the fourth life term for Jessie Aguilar, who is a member of the Calwa Varrios Bulldogs street gang.

Aguilar was sentenced in Fresno Superior Court by Judge Jeffrey Hamilton.

Aguilar pleaded guilty last month to charges stemming from a conspiracy in which he used a cell phone smuggled into Salinas Valley State Prison to order the murder of a rival gang member.

However, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office detectives intervened and prevented the hit, which was to be carried out by Juan Alfredo Venegas, 40, of Fresno. When detectives arrested Venegas at Calwa Park, he was armed with a fully automatic pistol.

Venegas is scheduled for sentencing on March 25.

Case Linked to Murder of Malaga Man

Detectives uncovered Aguilar’s murder order while investigating the killing of 52-year-old Javier Fernandez near his home in Malaga last July.

With help from surveillance video and tips coming through Valley Crime Stoppers, detectives arrested Richard Aguilar, 18, another Calwa gang member, in October on murder charges.

During the investigation, detectives with the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium served warrants at 14 locations, made 14 arrests, and seized 12 firearms. Two of those arrested and charged with felonies were ages 13 and 14.

The sheriff’s SWAT team arrested Richard Aguilar, who is not related to Jesse Aguilar, at a home in Fresno’s Mayfair District. Initially, he refused to surrender so deputies used tear gas to force him out.

Jesse Aguilar’s Previous Life Sentences

Jesse Aguilar was previously convicted of murder and attempted murder in 2017, stemming from a 2014 gang shooting. While in jail awaiting transport to prison for those crimes, he assaulted and seriously injured a correctional officer. He received an additional life term for the assault in 2018.

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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