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Tulare County Gang Member, Two Fresnans Head to Federal Prison



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The wheels of justice are moving quickly at the federal courthouse in downtown Fresno against those prohibited from having guns or ammunition.

Last Friday, U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd sentenced two men — Tulare County gang member Cesar Pena and Jesse Moses Escano of Fresno —to slightly more than three years in prison for being felons with firearms.

Then, on Tuesday, Drozd sentenced John Jacob Gullatt III of Fresno to three-and-half years behind bars for being a felon with ammunition.

The Pena Case

According to court documents, on July 16, 2019, Pena, a Strathmore Norteno gang member and a convicted felon, illegally sold a gun to a Fresno resident. Three months later,  Pena, 28, pleaded guilty.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the case against Pena. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica A. Massey was the prosecutor.

The Escano Case

According to court documents, on July 16, 2019, law enforcement officers conducted a parole check on Escano, 22. During a pat-down search of Escano, an officer found a loaded semi-automatic handgun. Records showed that the gun was stolen out of Brentwood.

Escano has a previous felony conviction for assault with a deadly weapon.

ATF and Fresno Police investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin J. Gilio was in charge of the prosecution.

The Gullatt Case

Court documents state that on April 9-10 of last year, officers investigating illegal firearms crimes searched Gullatt’s primary residence.

Inside Gullatt’s bedroom, officers found thousands of ammunition rounds and a handgun. Outside the house, officers also dug up a disassembled AR-15-style rifle.

Gullatt, 47,  has several previous felony convictions.

Homeland Security and the Stanislaus County Special Investigations Unit handled the investigation. Gilio prosecuted the case.