Nuestra Familia Gang Member Sentenced to 21 Years and 10 Months in Prison in Ongoing Nuestra Familia Drug Trafficking Prosecution
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 22, 2013|
SACRAMENTO, CA—Juan Gallegos, also known as “Wino,” 36, of Salinas, was sentenced today to 21 years and 10 months in prison by United States District Judge William B. Shubb, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. On April 9, 2012, Gallegos pleaded guilty to conspiring to traffic methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana, and four other drug trafficking felonies. There was no plea agreement between Gallegos and the United States.
This case is the product of an investigation into the activities of the Nuestra Familia, a violent Hispanic prison gang based in the California and federal prison systems. The gang exerts control over street-level Norteño gang members engaged in drug trafficking and violent crime.
According to court documents, between 2004 and 2007, Gallegos and others distributed methamphetamine and cocaine for the Nuestra Familia’s Salinas Regiment. Previous trial testimony established that he transported, cut, and distributed methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana. During the same time period, Gallegos also assisted in transporting large loads of methamphetamine and cocaine from Southern California to Northern California.
In May 2007, Gallegos and others met at a bar in San Juan Bautista to plan the transportation and distribution of 20 kilograms of cocaine. A suitable driver was selected based upon his lack of criminal history and a rental car was obtained to act as the “load” car. Gallegos helped to provide “security” by following the load car. On May 4, 2007, the two vehicles headed to the Los Angeles area to pick up the 20 kilograms of cocaine. The 20 kilograms of cocaine were picked up by the load car. While the drug exchange occurred, agents intercepted a call with the drug supplier. Gallegos is heard in the background of the call explaining to the supplier that the driver of the load car has a cover story and, if the load car is stopped, Gallegos will use his vehicle to create a diversion. During his guilty plea, Gallegos admitted that he provided security for the 20 kilograms of cocaine as they were transported in furtherance of the overall NF drug trafficking conspiracy.
Two Successful Jury Trials
The initial Indictment of 25 defendants in June 2007 led to two successful jury trials. The jury trials resulted in the convictions of five separate defendants on multiple counts of drug trafficking. In the 2009 trial, one defendant demanded a speedy trial, was convicted, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. In the 2010 trial, four of the NF’s leadership defendants were each convicted on all the counts in the indictment after a contentious four-month jury trial. Today’s sentencing was the latest result of the new indictment that was handed down by a Sacramento Grand Jury in January 2011.
Significant Sentences and Guilty Pleas
The initial indictment also resulted in a number of significant sentences:
On April 21, 2010, Manuel Gauna was sentenced to more than 21 years in prison.
On December 13, 2010, Richard Mendoza was sentenced to 17½ years in prison.
On February 22, 2011, Bismark Ocampo was sentenced to 28 years in prison.
On May 25, 2011, the trial defendants were sentenced to the following:
- Larry Amaro was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
- Ernest Killinger was sentenced to 36½ years in prison.
- Gerardo Mora was sentenced to more than 33 years in prison.
- Jason Stewart-Hanson was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
On July 25, 2011, Gabriel Caracheo was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
On July 27, 2011, David Ramirez was sentenced to 15½ years in prison.
On September 26, 2011, Fernando Villalpando was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
On October 17, 2011, Faustino Gonzalez was sentenced to more than 15½ years.
On November 28, 2011, Oscar Campos-Padilla was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
The second indictment also resulted in Rebecca Guzman being sentenced to 14 years in prison on September 24, 2012, and Danny Pereda, aka T-Mighty, pleading guilty on April 23, 2012. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 25, 2013.
These cases were part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF Program was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.
This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the FBI’s Stockton Violent Crime Task Force, the San Joaquin County Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force, the Stockton Police Department, the Salinas Police Department, the Watsonville Police Department, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Assistant United States Attorneys Jason Hitt and William S. Wong are prosecuting the case.
When prosecuted in federal court, drug traffickers typically receive much harsher sentences. In addition to the longer sentences imposed, unlike state court prisoners who are released early on parole, there is no early release on parole in the federal system