A Fresno mom of six has been accused of supplying her teenage son with guns that he then sold to gang members. She’s also accused of using a large settlement she received in April to fund the operation — the largest settlement ever issued by the city of Fresno after an officer shot and killed one of her sons in 2017.
Christina Lopez, 42, faces 22 felony charges that could land her 10 years in prison, including conspiracy to sell or transfer firearms without a license, conspiracy to sell or transfer firearms to a person under 21, and carrying a loaded firearm in public.
Her arrest is a result of a three-month-long investigation into gun and gang crimes.
Authorities arrested a total of 14 Calwa gang members, most of whom are teenagers, one as young as 13. They also arrested accused killer 18-year-old Richard Aguilar, who is charged with shooting and killing a 52-year-old Malaga man, Javier Fernandez, in July.
District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp held a press conference and explained, “She has been providing guns through a financial means that she has, to minor children that are 14, 15, and 16 years old. As a mother and a prosecutor and a citizen of this county for my entire life, this is some of the most despicable behavior I’ve ever seen from a human being.”
Lopez received a $4.9 million settlement after Fresno police shot and killed her unarmed son when he ran from the police. At the time, he and his brother were wanted for killing a man. His brother turned himself in the night his brother died, pleading guilty to the murder.
Police believe she supplied the teenagers with weapons and conspired with Jesse Aguilar, 47, and Juan Venegas, 40, to have the teenagers commit crimes on behalf of the Calwa gang.
“…and she has continued now to take the money from her settlement that she received from the City of Fresno to buy and purchase a home where she lives, in addition to spending thousands of dollars on guns that she then, in turn, has given to her 14-year-old son,” Smittcamp said in the conference, “And I didn’t misspeak, 14-year-old son, who is distributing them, sharing them and selling them with other gang members in the community.”
The DA believes that this money directly funded gang activity, but Lopez’s attorney in the settlement case claims it’s just retaliation by the city.
Julia Sherwin represented Lopez in the civil rights lawsuit after her son’s death. She told the Washington Post, “These criminal charges reek of retaliation for Christina winning the largest settlement against Fresno in its history.”
Lopez was originally held on a $1.6 million bail, but it has since been reduced to $750,000.