April 24, 2001
(SAN FRANCISCO) – Federal prosecutors say they have uncovered a gang whose leaders organized drug deals and ordered murders from behind the walls of California’s notorious Pelican Bay State Prison.
Indictments announced Monday charged 13 people, six of them inmates of the maximum-security facility in Crescent City. Most of the defendants are allegedly members of Nuestra Familia, a 35-year-old gang based in northern California and in the state prisons.
Investigators say that Nuestra Familia recruits members for life, adopting the slogan “Blood in, blood out,” and requires them to turn over 5 percent of their earnings from any activity legal or illegal to the organization.
The six men in Pelican Bay were being held in the Security Housing Unit, where inmates are separated from visitors by thick glass and able to talk to them only by telephone. But authorities say that they do not have the manpower to monitor all inmate conversations.
The six prisoners were identified as Gerald Rubalcaba, age 46; James Morado, age 53; Cornelio Tristan, age 40; Tex Marin Hernandez, age, 47; Daniel Perez, age 42; and Sheldon Villanueva, age 40. They were allegedly high-ranking members of the gang.