Photo: Nuestra Familia
Juan Gallegos, also known as “Wino,” 36, of Salinas, was sentenced today to 21 years and 10 months in prison by United States District Judge William B. Shubb, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. On April 9, 2012, Gallegos pleaded guilty to conspiring to traffic methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana, and four other drug trafficking felonies. There was no plea agreement between Gallegos and the United States.
This case is the product of an investigation into the activities of the Nuestra Familia, a violent Hispanic prison gang based in the California and federal prison systems. The gang exerts control over street-level Norteño gang members engaged in drug trafficking and violent crime.
According to court documents, between 2004 and 2007, Gallegos and others distributed methamphetamine and cocaine for the Nuestra Familia’s Salinas Regiment. Previous trial testimony established that he transported, cut, and distributed methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana. During the same time period, Gallegos also assisted in transporting large loads of methamphetamine and cocaine from Southern California to Northern California.
In May 2007, Gallegos and others met at a bar in San Juan Bautista to plan the transportation and distribution of 20 kilograms of cocaine. A suitable driver was selected based upon his lack of criminal history and a rental car was obtained to act as the “load” car. Gallegos helped to provide “security” by following the load car. On May 4, 2007, the two vehicles headed to the Los Angeles area to pick up the 20 kilograms of cocaine. The 20 kilograms of cocaine were picked up by the load car. While the drug exchange occurred, agents intercepted a call with the drug supplier. Gallegos is heard in the background of the call explaining to the supplier that the driver of the load car has a cover story and, if the load car is stopped, Gallegos will use his vehicle to create a diversion. During his guilty plea, Gallegos admitted that he provided security for the 20 kilograms of cocaine as they were transported in furtherance of the overall NF drug trafficking conspiracy.