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Press Release

Nuestra Familia Leader and Associates Sentenced on Racketeering Charges

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

FRESNO, Calif. — Two Nuestra Familia gang members were sentenced today for racketeering offenses, and a third defendant who held a leadership role in the gang was also recently sentenced, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert of the Eastern District of California announced.

Earlier today, United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill sentenced Joe Anthony Felix, 36, of Modesto, to 12 years and seven months in prison for conspiring to engage in racketeering and sentenced him to an additional, consecutive term of nine months in prison for a supervised release violation on a 2004 case. Judge O’Neill also sentenced Jesus Gomez Felix, 32, of Modesto, today to two and a half years in prison for assault with a deadly weapon in aid of racketeering. Previously, on April 11, Gary Anthony Romero, 50, of Stockton, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiring to engage in racketeering.

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 approximately 20 years and 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 proceeds of their drug trafficking activities, and to put the funds in Romero’s account at Stanislaus County Jail.

Joe Felix was a Norteno, a gang under the Nuestra Familia umbrella, who provided direction to other Nortenos to commit various crimes, including attempted murder and drug trafficking in Modesto. Joe Felix participated and directed others to participate in an assault on two individuals who had dropped out of the gang. Jesus Felix participated in this assault and exchanged gunfire with someone from the opposing side during the incident. No one was shot, but as a result of the attack, one of the victims suffered a fractured orbital bone and injury to his eye. Joe Felix also directed the sales of methamphetamine by other Nortenos, and profited from the drug trafficking operation.

This case was the product of an investigation 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, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office, the Modesto Police Department, the Ceres Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Bureau of Prisons, and the Stanislaus County Probation Department.

Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager said, “I would like to thank the United States Department of Justice and the hard work of the federal prosecutors who prosecuted this case. 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.”

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.

Updated May 2, 2016

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 1:13-cr-085 LJO