Eastern District of California | Ten Associated with Nuestra Familia Plead Guilty to Drug Trafficking Offenses in Kings and Tulare Counties

FRESNO, Calif. — Ten defendants arrested as element of Procedure Crimson Reaper have pleaded guilty right now to drug trafficking offenses, U.S. Legal professional Phillip A. Talbert introduced.

In 2019, Operation Red Reaper was a federal, condition, and area law enforcement procedure that qualified the prison routines of the Nuestra Familia Jail Gang in the counties of Kings and Tulare. At the summary of the procedure, federal costs ended up introduced in opposition to 23 of individuals defendants, with the remaining getting charged by the Kings County District Attorney’s Business office.

Pleading guilty right now are Raymond Lopez, 35, of Pleasant Valley Condition Jail Jesse Juarez, 32, of Visalia Daniel Juarez, 30, of Visalia Michael Rocha, 40, of Visalia Angel Montes, 26, of Visalia Rafael Lopez, 41, of Visalia Manuel Barrera, 28, of Kettleman Metropolis Joann Bernal, 36, of Armona Ramon Amador, 33, of Riverdale and Raul Lopez Jr., 51, of Visalia.

Two co-defendants have been sentenced right after pleading responsible. On Could 24, 2021, Salvador Castro Jr., 52, of Fresno, was sentenced to 17 a long time and six months in prison, and on July 11, 2022, Manuel Garcia, 36, of Armona, was sentenced to 15 decades in jail.

According to court docket documents, in March 2019, numerous organizations partnered in an investigation into the Nuestra Familia prison gang and the Norteño avenue gang in Kings County. The investigation uncovered that the Nuestra Familia was liable for big-scale trafficking of methamphetamine and cocaine, as properly as many firearms offenses and other violent crimes. 

According to court docket files, significant-position Nuestra Familia members Salvador Castro Jr. and Raymond Lopez employed contraband cellphones from inside Fresno County’s Nice Valley State Jail to prepare the transport of illicit narcotics from drug resources in California and Mexico to a stash household in Kings County. From that stash household, gang associates outside of the prison coordinated the preparing and supply of the drugs to distributors all over Kings and Tulare Counties.

This scenario is the products of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Kings County Gang Job Force, the Distinctive Functions Unit of the California Office of Justice and the California Freeway Patrol, the California Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the Kings County District Attorney’s Workplace. Assistant U.S. Lawyers Justin J. Gilio, Kimberly A. Sanchez, and Jessica A. Massey are prosecuting the situation.

Barrera, Amador, Montes, and Raul Lopez are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Choose Ana de Alba on March 6, 2023, and the remaining defendants are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge de Alba on March 20, 2023. They confront a variety of obligatory minimum sentences from in between five to 15 yrs in jail and a array of highest sentences, like up to lifetime in prison. The real sentences, nevertheless, will be established at the discretion of the courtroom just after thing to consider of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Recommendations, which just take into account a selection of variables.

Rates are pending against the remaining defendants. The rates are only allegations they are presumed harmless until and unless of course established guilty over and above a fair doubt.

This circumstance is element of Task Safe and sound Neighborhoods (PSN), a method bringing alongside one another all stages of law enforcement and the communities they serve to decrease violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for every person. On May 26, 2021, the U.S. Office of Justice launched a violent criminal offense reduction strategy strengthening PSN primarily based on these main rules: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting local community-based mostly corporations that enable avert violence from developing in the initially location, environment focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

This effort is section of an Organized Criminal offense Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the greatest-stage felony businesses that threaten the United States applying a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency technique. Further data about the OCDETF Program can be uncovered at www.justice.gov/OCDETF.