Ten alleged members and associates of South Bay Sureno-affiliated gangs have been indicted by a U.S. grand jury in San Jose on charges of selling methamphetamine, federal prosecutors have announced. The 10 defendants, including two brothers and a mother-and-daughter pair, were charged in eight separate sealed indictments on July 31.
The indictments were gradually unsealed during the fall as the defendants were arrested and arraigned in federal court in San Jose. The final indictment was unsealed Thursday after Raul Morfin, 27, was arraigned and pleaded not guilty before U.S. Magistrate Howard Lloyd, according to court records. Nine of the defendants have been ordered held in custody while they await further proceedings, a trial or a possible plea bargain, according to court records. The pretrial detention has the result of “disrupting a substantial gang presence within Santa Clara County,” said U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.
All the defendants are San Jose residents except Maria Salinas, 33, of Gilroy, who Haag said is the alleged matriarch of a Sureno gang called 8 Street Gilroy. Salinas, the only defendant with a trial date thus far, is scheduled to go before a jury in the court of U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose on Feb. 28. Haag said Laura Garcia, 40, and her daughter, Vanessa Pulido Garcia, 22, are allegedly associated with the Sureno gang Varrio Sur Town. Vanessa Pulido Garcia is the only defendant granted bail thus far. She was released on a $25,000 bond. Brothers Jairo Quintana, 27, and Filiberto Quintana, 19, are allegedly affiliated with the Sureno gang Varrio Mexicanos Locos, Haag said.
They have reached tentative plea bargains with prosecutors and have agreed to allow probation officials to conduct a pre-plea investigation that would assist Koh in deciding whether to accept such an agreement, according to the court docket. The other defendants are San Jose residents Eduardo Arriaga, 38, Ulysses Vasquez, 23, Rafael Medina, 33, and Jesus Quinones, 36. They are allegedly associated with the Sureño-affiliated Colonias, Poco Way or Varrio Paisanos Locos gangs, Haag said.
If convicted of the charges, most of the defendants would face a possible sentence of up to 40 years in prison. Arriaga and Vasquez could face up to life in prison, if convicted, because Arriaga is additionally charged with using a gun in a drug crime and Vasquez is accused of conspiring to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. The investigation was carried out by the FBI’s Santa Clara County Violent Gang Task Force, Haag said.
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