Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Drug Courier Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison in Ongoing Nuestra Familia Drug Trafficking Prosecution

SACRAMENTO, CA—United States District Judge William B. Shubb sentenced Rebecca Guzman, 27, of Salinas, today to 14 years in prison for conspiring to traffic methamphetamine and cocaine, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, beginning in early 2005 and continuing through the summer of 2006, Guzman assisted members of the Nuestra Familia (NF) to transport large quantities of drug money, methamphetamine, and cocaine. NF is a violent Hispanic prison gang based within the California prison system whose members exert control over street-level Norteño gang members engaged in drug trafficking and violent crimes. During the conspiracy, Guzman frequently drove a green Honda Accord equipped with hidden compartments to the Moreno Valley area of California and picked up cocaine and methamphetamine. She delivered the drugs to the Salinas area. Guzman also transported more than 20 kilograms of cocaine from a drug supplier in Bakersfield.

Two Successful Jury Trials
The initial indictment of 25 defendants in June 2007 led to two jury trials that resulted in the convictions of five defendants on multiple counts of drug trafficking. In the 2009 trial, one defendant demanded a speedy trial, was convicted, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. In the 2010 trial, four of NF’s leadership defendants were each convicted on all counts in the indictment after a contentious four-month jury trial. Today’s sentencing was the latest from a January 2011 indictment.

Significant Sentences and Guilty Pleas
The initial indictment also resulted in a number of significant sentences:

April 21, 2010: Manuel Gauna was sentenced to more than 21 years in prison.

December 13, 2010: Richard Mendoza was sentenced to 17 ½ years in prison.

February 22, 2011: Bismark Ocampo was sentenced to 28 years in prison.

May 25, 2011: the trial defendants were sentenced to the following:

■Larry Amaro—40 years in prison
■Ernest Killinger—36 ½ years in prison
■Gerardo Mora—more than 33 years in prison
■Jason Stewart-Hanson—25 years in prison

July 25, 2011: Gabriel Caracheo—25 years in prison

July 27, 2011: David Ramirez—15 ½ years in prison

September 26, 2011: Fernando Villalpando—20 years in prison

October 17, 2011: Faustino Gonzalez—15 ½ years in prison

November 28, 2011: Oscar Campos-Padilla—14 years in prison

April 9, 2012: Juan Gallegos pleaded guilty, sentencing: November 26, 2012.

These cases were part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation. The OCDETF Program was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.

This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the FBI’s Stockton Violent Crime Task Force, the San Joaquin County Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force, the Stockton Police Department, the Salinas Police Department, the Watsonville Police Department, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Assistant United States Attorneys Jason Hitt and William S. Wong are prosecuting the case.

When prosecuted in federal court, drug traffickers typically receive much harsher sentences. In addition to the longer sentences imposed, unlike state court prisoners who are released early on parole, there is no early release on parole in the federal system.

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