Two More Guilty Pleas in Ongoing Nuestra Familia Drug Trafficking Prosecution

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that Danny Pereda, aka T-Mighty, 29, of San Francisco; and Rebecca Guzman, 27, of Sali...

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that Danny Pereda, aka T-Mighty, 29, of San Francisco; and Rebecca Guzman, 27, of Salinas, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to traffic methamphetamine and cocaine with the Nuestra Familia (NF), 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 crime.

The plea agreement for Pereda calls for a sentence of 20 years in prison, while the plea agreement for Guzman calls for a sentence of 14 years in prison. Sentencing for Guzman is set for July 23, 2012 and sentencing for Pereda is set for August 6, 2012.
According to court documents, between 2005 and 2007, Pereda functioned with the Nuestra Familia’s San Francisco and Salinas regiments to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine. Pereda admitted that at his peak, he was receiving between one to four kilograms of cocaine every other day and during the first half of 2007, he was receiving multiple pounds of methamphetamine on a regular basis.
According to court documents, Guzman admitted that beginning in early 2005 and continuing through the summer of 2006, she agreed to assist Nuestra Familia members to transport large quantities of drug money and drugs, including methamphetamine and cocaine. During the conspiracy, she frequently drove a green Honda Accord, equipped with hidden compartments, to the Moreno Valley area of California and picked up cocaine and methamphetamine. Guzman would then return with the drugs and deliver them to the Salinas area. She also transported more than 20 kilograms of cocaine from a drug supplier in Bakersfield. Between 2005 and 2006, NF member Paul Killinger used NF drug money to rent a Salinas apartment for Guzman. NF members, including Diaz, Killinger, and Robert Hanrahan, used the apartment to store and cut their methamphetamine and cocaine, as well as store firearms.
Two Successful Jury Trials
The initial indictment of 25 defendants in June 2007 led to two jury trials and 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 the NF’s leadership defendants were each convicted on all of the counts in the indictment after a contentious four-month jury trial. Today’s guilty plea by Gallegos is the first conviction in 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 17½ 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—36½ years in prison;
  • Gerardo Mora—more than 33 years in prison;
  • Jason Stewart-Hanson—25 years in prison.
July 25, 2011: Gabriel Caracheo was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
July 27, 2011:David Ramirez was sentenced to 15½ years in prison.
September 26, 2011: Fernando Villalpando was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
October 17, 2011: Faustino Gonzalez was sentenced to 15½ years in prison.
November 28, 2011: Oscar Campos-Padilla was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
April 9, 2012: Juan Gallegos pleaded guilty; sentencing: July 9, 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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