Nuestra Familia Leader and Associates Sentenced on Racketeering Charges
The last of three defendants charged with racketeering offenses was sentenced today by the Honorable Lawrence J. O’Neill. Gary Anthony Romero, 50, of Stockton, California, was sentenced on April 11, to 20 years imprisonment for racketeering conspiracy. Today, Judge O’Neill sentenced Joe Anthony Felix, 36, of Modesto, California, to 151 months imprisonment for racketeering conspiracy, and Jesus Gomez Felix, 32, of Modesto, to 30 months imprisonment for Assault With a Deadly Weapon in Aid of Racketeering Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert of the Eastern District of California announced.
According to court documents, Nuestra Familia is a prison gang that originally formed in the California state prison system in the 1960s. Nuestra Familia leaders control and direct the gang’s criminal activities both inside and outside of the prison system.
According to court documents, Romero has been a member of Nuestra Familia for about 20 years and has reached one of the highest levels of authority in Nuestra Familia. He ordered various crimes to be committed for the benefit of the gang in Stanislaus County, including aggravated assaults, robberies and drug dealing. Romero ordered a home invasion robbery in Turlock in which the robbers wielded firearms and made off with a vehicle and several other items. While Romero was in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail, he ordered the “removal” of several Nortenos who had violated Nuestra Familia rules. A “removal” involved assaulting the individuals with homemade weapons, as well as fists and feet. Several of the victims suffered stab wounds. Romero also directed a gang member to set up subsets of the gang throughout Stanislaus County, to collect money from the members, including from their drug trafficking activities and to put the funds on Romero’s books at Stanislaus County Jail.
Joe Felix was a Norteno, a gang under the Nuestra Familia umbrella, who was in charge of Stanislaus County and provided direction to other Nortenos to commit various crimes, including attempted murder and drug trafficking in Modesto. Joe Felix participated in an assault of two individuals who had dropped out of the gang. As a result of the attack, one of the victims suffered a fractured orbital bone and injury to his eye. Joe Felix also provided direction to other Nortenos regarding the sales of methamphetamine, and profited from the drug trafficking operation.
Jesus Felix went armed to the assault of the two gang drop-outs. He exchanged gunfire with someone from the opposing side during the incident. No one was shot.
“I would like to thank the United States Department of Justice and the hard work of the federal prosecutors who prosecuted this case,” said District Attorney Birgit Fladager for Stanislaus County. “We will remain committed to working collaboratively with our federal partners to pursue criminal gang members who commit violent crimes and pose a threat to the citizens of Stanislaus County.”
In addition to the prison term, Joe Felix is to serve 60 months of supervised release on the instant matter, and nine months imprisonment consecutive on a supervised release violation on a 2004 case. Jesus Felix is to serve three years of supervised release.
This case was investigated by the Central Valley Gang Impact Task Force under the FBI’s Safe Streets Initiative, with the assistance of the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office, Modesto Police Department, Ceres Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Bureau of Prisons and the Stanislaus County Probation Department.
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Louis A. Crisostomo and Kelly Pearson of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant United States Attorneys Kimberly A. Sanchez and Laurel J. Montoya of the Eastern District of California.