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Press Release

Federal Racketeering And Attempted Murder Charges Brought Against Leaders And Associates Of The Nuestra Familia Gang

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

FRESNO, Calif. — A second superseding indictment was unsealed today adding 19 counts including racketeering conspiracy and attempted murder against three defendants for their alleged participation in the violent Nuestra Familia gang, Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. O’Neil of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

“This complex case identified the network beyond the gang’s drug distribution channels and revealed a command structure that directs violent acts to gain and maintain control of its members, regardless of whether the members are walking the streets of Modesto or incarcerated,” said Supervisory Special Agent Todd Irinaga of the Modesto FBI office. “Today’s indictments demonstrate the effectiveness of a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) approach to dismantling drug trafficking organizations who threaten the safety and quality of life in our communities.”

Gary Anthony Romero, 48, of Stockton, and Joe Anthony Felix, 34, of Modesto, were first charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine by a federal grand jury in Fresno. The superseding indictment, returned under seal on April 30, 2014, includes all of the charges alleged in the original indictment, as well as new charges against them. A new defendant, Jesus Gomez Felix, 30, of Modesto, was also charged.

Jesus Felix was arrested today and made his initial appearance in federal court in Fresno today. Romero and Joe Felix were arraigned on the charges today in Fresno. They have been in federal custody since March 2013.

According to the superseding indictment, 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 the superseding indictment, 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 allegedly ordered various crimes to be committed for the benefit of the gang in Stanislaus County, including attempted murders, assaults, robberies and drug dealing. Romero is charged with racketeering conspiracy; six counts of attempted murder and six counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, all in aid of racketeering; one count of using and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence; one count of conspiracy to commit robbery; and one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

 Joe Felix became a Nuestra Familia leader in Stanislaus County in 2012 and allegedly ordered members of the gang to commit murder and deal drugs in Modesto. Joe Felix is charged with racketeering conspiracy; one count of attempted murder, one count of conspiracy to commit murder, and one count of assault with a dangerous weapon, all in aid of racketeering; one count of using and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence; and one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

 Jesus Felix is charged with one count of assault with a dangerous weapon resulting in serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering and one count of using and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.

 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 is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Louis A. Crisostomo 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.

 The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, 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.

Updated April 8, 2015

Press Release Number: Docket #: 1:13-CR-85