A federal grand jury in Sacramento has returned nine indictments charging 20 people with drug and arms trafficking by the Nuestra Familia prison gang and its affiliated Norteno gang members.
The indictments, returned on Thursday, are the product of a two-year collaborative investigation that focused on disrupting and dismantling a violent, gang-affiliated drug and weapons trafficking organization, according to Herbert M. Brown, special agent in charge of the Sacramento Division of the Federal Bureau of investigation.
The Nuestra Familia is described by authorities as a violent prison gang based in the California and federal prison systems, whose members exert control over street-level Norteno gang members engaged in drug trafficking and violent crime. During the course of the investigation, agents gathered evidence that many of the defendants were either members of the gangs or an associate of the Nuestra Familia, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.
Some of the defendants are alleged to have extensive criminal histories, including armed robbery, assault and drug distribution. According to information made public during bail hearings, large amounts of narcotics, firearms and cash were seized during the arrests in this operation last week.
According to court documents, Vidal Dominic Fabela, 45, Zebulen Cole Hughes, 20, Albert Miranda, 20, Angelo Lorenzo Gonzales, 27, Marion Hernandez Garcia, 35, Jaime Ysidro Sturgis, 37, Emilio Roberto Lopez, 19, Rudolph Edward Jimenez, 26, and Eleazar Guido Nunez, 21, all of Sacramento, allegedly conspired to distribute and did distribute large amounts of methamphetamine in the Sacramento area. The indictment further charges Jose Andres Jaramillo, 35, a felon, with possessing a firearm that he distributed on behalf of Sturgis. In addition, Sturgis and Garcia were arrested on suspicion of possessing at least 50 grams of pure methamphetamine.
According to court documents, Alvaro Herrera, 29, Cilvino Dejesus Hernandez, 31, Arthur Albert Morales, 32, Juan Carlos Palacios Venegas, 42, and Rusty Allen Rycraft, 22, were charged with distribution of methamphetamine. Morales was also charged with possession of methamphetamine, and Rycraft was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Also indicted were Jesse Anthony Montanez, 24, Sonny Melvin Gonzalez, 23, Ramon Jose Levario, 30, Zachary Kurtz, 21, and Robert Emilio Gonzalez, 31, all of Sacramento. All are accused of distributing methamphetamine in the Sacramento area. Levario, a felon, allegedly also sold a firearm to a confidential source. Some of these defendants have criminal histories that include assault, carjacking and drug distribution, authorities said.
The cases resulted from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Streets Task Force, which includes the Sacramento Police Department, California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.