Photo: Anthony Casillas
Ventura County – The 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution notwithstanding, the facts of 21-year-old Fillmore resident Anthony Casillas’ arrest is a clear indication that not all verbal expressions are protected as free speech.
According to Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Detective Erik Hernandez, Casillas is under a law enforcement cloud as “a known and documented local gang member.” This official designation prohibits him from enjoying certain rights shared by other citizens, and restricts him from making utterances of a certain tone and vocabulary to members of the public.
It all started just before midnight on the streets of Fillmore on January 8, 2019, when Casillas allegedly approached two male victims and verbally threatened them with violence. While making his speech, Casillas used “gang slogans” to get his message across. The two victims immediately left the area and contacted local law enforcement.
Responding deputies were quick to take a report and match the victims’ witness statements with Casillas, who was known to the cops in the area. Further investigation ensued for the next two weeks, leading to the January 25th execution of a search warrant at Casillas’ residence.
While deputies searched Casillas’ home, they discovered “gang indicia and two illegally possessed firearms.” That was enough probable cause for the cops. Casillas was summarily taken into custody and transported to Ventura County Jail, where he was booked on charged of making criminal threats, street terrorism, and illegal possession of a firearm. He remains in custody on $125,000 bail.
Photos: Courtesy Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Gang Unit, Ventura County Jail Booking