Two high-ranking Nuestra Familia gang members from Modesto were sentenced Monday on racketeering offenses related to crimes committed in Stanislaus County, including robberies, assaults and drug dealing, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
A third defendant, one of the highest ranking members of the gang, was sentenced last month.
U.S. 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 from a 2004 case.
Jesus Gomez Felix, 32, of Modesto was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for assault with a deadly weapon in aid of racketeering.
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Their co-defendant, Gary Anthony Romero, 50, of Stockton, was sentenced last month to 20 years in prison for conspiring to engage in racketeering. All three pleaded guilty in January.
The three are high-ranking members of Nuestra Familia, a prison gang that originally formed in the California state prison system in the 1960s, according to court documents. Nuestra Familia leaders control and direct the gang’s criminal activities inside and outside the prison system. The three have been in federal custody since March 2013, when they were arrested along with 12 others during a sweep by federal and local agencies in Stanislaus County targeting the Nuestra Familia gang and its street-level gang, the Norteños.
According to court documents, Romero has been a member of Nuestra Familia for about 20 years and reached one of the highest levels of authority in the gang.
He ordered crimes to be committed for the benefit of the gang in Stanislaus County, including aggravated assaults, robberies and drug dealing, according to the documents.
The men committed the following crimes, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office:
Romero ordered a home-invasion robbery in Turlock in which the robbers wielded firearms and stole a vehicle and several other items.
While Romero was in custody at the Stanislaus County jail, he ordered the “removal” of several Norteños 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 were stabbed.
Romero also directed a gang member to establish 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 the Stanislaus County jail.
Joe Felix was a Norteño who provided direction to other Norteños 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 people 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 Norteños, and profited from the drug trafficking operation.