FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Ten people associated with the Nuestra Familia prison gang pleaded guilty to drug trafficking in Kings and Tulare counties, the Department of Justice announced on Tuesday.
The investigation began in 2019 with Operation Red Reaper, when federal and local law enforcement agencies targeted criminal activities by the Nuestra Familia Prison Gang in Kings and Tulare counties, officials say.
According to the authorities, the operation resulted in 96 people being arrested and 74 firearms seized.
According to the Department of Justice, the people who pleaded guilty on Tuesday are:
- Raymond Lopez, 35, of Pleasant Valley State Prison
- Jesse Juarez, 32, of Visalia
- Daniel Juarez, 30, of Visalia
- Michael Rocha, 40, of Visalia
- Angel Montes, 26, of Visalia
- Rafael Lopez, 41, of Visalia
- Manuel Barrera, 28, of Kettleman City
- Joann Bernal, 36, of Armona
- Ramon Amador, 33, of Riverdale
- Raul Lopez Jr., 51, of Visalia
Additionally, two people have been sentenced after pleading guilty, according to DOJ officials, on May 2021 and July 2022.
Court documents say that in March 2019 a multi-agency investigation took place and showed Nuestra Familia prison gang was responsible for the large-scale trafficking of methamphetamine and cocaine, as well as several firearm offenses and other violent crimes.
Also, court documents state that high-ranking Salvador Castro Jr. and Raymond Lopez members of Nuestra Familia used contrabanded cellphones from inside Fresno County’s Pleasant Valley State Prison to execute the logistics and transportation of drugs from sources in California and Mexico to a stash house located in Kings County.