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Turlock man arrested in FBI operation targeting Nuestra Familia
A SWAT member rides atop an armored vehicle down Canal Drive in Turlock early Wednesday, as his unit secures the perimeter between Geer Road and Palm Avenue. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR / The Journal

The military-style law enforcement operation witnessed by some Turlock residents early Wednesday morning was part of a two-day multi-agency operation that saw the arrest of eight Nuestra Familia gang members and associates in Turlock, Ceres, Modesto and Stockton on federal drug trafficking charges.
"This Central Valley Gang Impact Task Force operation exemplifies how multi-jurisdictional, collaborative FBI Safe Streets Task Forces successfully investigate and disrupt violent criminal gang activity in our communities," said Herbert M. Brown, special agent in charge of the Sacramento FBI. "Takedowns such as the effort in Modesto and Turlock today demonstrate the commitment of the FBI and its task force partners to improving of the quality of life in our communities by removing individuals who traffic dangerous drugs and commit violent crimes from our streets."
This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a focused multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
The following defendants were arrested following indictments by a federal grand jury on March 7, charging them with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and various other drug trafficking offenses:
• Gary Romero, aka Pizza, aka Cesar, aka Pepperoni, 47, of Stockton
• Joe Anthony Gomez Felix, aka Gator, aka Bullet, 33, of Modesto
• Danny Richard Edwin Brown, aka D-boy, 37, of Modesto
• Salvador Raymond Deleon Rodriguez, aka Sal, aka Fat Shark, 37, of Ceres
• Maximilano Sanchez, aka Max, 38, of Turlock
• Victor Barrajas Arriola, aka Twinky, 32, of Ceres
• Jesse Israel Alarcon, 23, of Modesto.
Carlos Lopez, 45, Turlock, was arrested in December 2012 on an indictment that charged him with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
According to court documents, the defendants are alleged members of the Nuestra Familia prison gang or Norteno gang. Court documents allege that the defendants engaged in a variety of violent crimes in violation of federal and state law including homicide, attempted homicide, home invasion, burglary, and methamphetamine trafficking.
The maximum statutory penalty for a violation of the various drug trafficking offenses is 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. Some of the defendants may face life in prison and a $10 million fine. The actual sentences, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.