Two arrested in gang intimidation

Joe Johnson (Hanford Sentinel) | September 28, 2013

AVENAL — Police say a group of gang members surrounded a man’s house and threatened him on Thursday for speaking with law enforcement.

The Avenal Police Department has been investigating several instances of gang violence over the last few weeks. On Thursday, one man believed to be a witness to a shooting reached out to them. He said two gang members had come to his home to threaten him.

But after officers spoke with him and left, a group of Norteño gang members surrounded his house and ordered the man outside. They then threatened him at knife point, officials said, warning him against speaking to police in the future.

Officials described it as a “coordinated effort” to intimidate the man.

Investigators have arrested two men linked to the intimidation: Javier Gervacio Aguilar, 21, and Jorge Francisco Santana, 25, both of Avenal.

They are accused of participating in a criminal street gang, conspiring to commit a crime and intimidating a witness, among other charges.

They’ve since been booked into the county jail. Santana is being held on $480,000 bail, while Aguilar’s is set at $630,000.

More arrests could be pending in the future. The case remains under investigation, officials said.

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