Seven Nuestra Familia Gang Members and Associates Arrested on Federal Drug Trafficking Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 20, 2013|
FRESNO, CA—Federal, state, and local agents arrested eight Nuestra Familia gang members and associates on federal drug trafficking charges and served six federal search warrants in a two-day operation as part of a coordinated law enforcement operation targeting the criminal gang Nuestra Familia. In addition, six defendants were arrested on state warrants.
The operation was announced by United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Herbert M. Brown.
“This Central Valley Gang Impact Task Force operation exemplifies how multi-jurisdictional, collaborative FBI Safe Streets Task Forces successfully investigate and disrupt violent criminal gang activity in our communities,” said Herbert M. Brown, Special Agent in Charge of the Sacramento FBI. “Takedowns such as the effort in Modesto and Turlock today demonstrate the commitment of the FBI and its task force partners to improving of the quality of life in our communities by removing individuals who traffic dangerous drugs and commit violent crimes from our streets.”
This operation is the product of joint investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Probation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Central Valley Gang Impact Task Force, the California Highway Patrol, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and their Special Services Unit, the Police Departments of Ceres Turlock and Modesto, the Sheriff’s Departments of Merced and Stanislaus Counties, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office, and the Stanislaus County Probation Department.
This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a focused multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
The following defendants were arrested following indictments by a federal grand jury on March 7, 2013, charging them with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and various other drug trafficking offenses:
- Gary Romero, aka Pizza, aka Cesar, aka Pepperoni, 47, of Stockton (arrested Saturday)
- Joe Anthony Gomez Felix, aka Gator, aka Bullet, 33, of Modesto (arrested on Tuesday)
- Danny Richard Edwin Brown, aka D-boy, 37, of Modesto (arrested on Tuesday)
- Salvador Raymond Deleon Rodriguez, aka Sal, aka Fat Shark, 37, of Ceres (arrested today)
- Maximilano Sanchez, aka Max, 38, of Turlock (arrested today)
- Victor Barrajas Arriola, aka Twinky, 32, of Ceres (arrested today)
- Jesse Israel Alarcon, 23, of Modesto (arrested on Tuesday).
Carlos Lopez, 45, Turlock, was arrested in December 2012 on an indictment filed on December 5, 2012, that charged him with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
According to court documents, the defendants are alleged members of the Nuestra Familia prison gang or Norteño gang. Court documents allege that the defendants engaged in a variety of violent crimes in violation of federal and state law including homicide, attempted homicide, home invasion, burglary, and methamphetamine trafficking.
The maximum statutory penalty for a violation of the various drug trafficking offenses is 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. Some of the defendants may face life in prison and a $10 million fine. The actual sentences, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
The charges are only allegations, and the defendants presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.