(BNC) — A high-up leader of the prison gang Nuestra Familia was sentenced to over 25 years in federal prison after being convicted of multiple gang violence conspiracies that occurred in the Monterey County Jail, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday. Vincent Gerald Garcia, 55, of Salinas, is the 14th defendant charged and convicted in the case, which involves racketeering, conspiracy, conspiracy to commit murder in the aid of racketeering and conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in the aid of racketeering.
Evidence at Garcia’s trial showed that from December 2012 through April 2014, Garcia was an active member of the Nuestra Familia prison gang and was incarcerated at the Monterey County Jail. Garcia was “regiment commander” for the gang in charge of all Monterey County and he controlled the criminal activities of gang members in the jail. He rose through the ranks of the gang starting in the 1990s, prosecutors said.
The U.S. Department of Justice said that Nuestra Familia (NF) and the Norteno gang are associated with each other, in that the Nortenos pledge loyalty to the NF. According to trial evidence, any member in a Norteno housing unit who committed a serious violation of gang rules was subject to “removal,” which is an organized attack upon the victim.
In this case, one or more “hitters” stabbed the victim, followed by “bombers” who viciously beat the man without weapons. The beating by the bombers inflicted further injury to the stabbed target and continued the attack’s “chaotic distraction” at the jail, which allowed time for the hitters to hide their weapons and wash off, prosecutors said.
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Removals are approved in advance by the gang leader in charge of the facility. The trial focused on 10 removals in the Monterey County Jail between December 2012 and April 2014. Most of them occurred in K-Pod, a cell block in the jail that housed Nortenos exclusively.
Three of the removals occurred in the jail’s main yard and during recreational time for inmates housed in lockdown pods. Evidence traced Garcia to all gang removals at the jail. He ordered assaults and murders on behalf of NF and approved all 10 removals in this case.
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