Handcuffs hang from a railing. (Photo by YURI CORTEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
UPDATED 7:51 PM PT – Thursday, September 16, 2021
Northern California law enforcement unveiled an investigation that’s been five years in the making. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Northern California officials are charging 55 defendants in connection with the Nuestra Familia criminal organization.
Dubbed “Operation Quiet Storm,” the investigation was revealed to the public on Thursday and includes allegations of racketeering, robberies, drug crimes and murder. Seven of the defendants allegedly performed their crimes from behind bars.
Acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California Stephanie Hinds explained the role of the incarcerated gang members.
“The NF’s general council consists of three generals and four senior members who serve as an inner council. Together, these seven individuals make up the NF’s command structure,” announced Hinds.
The imprisoned individuals acted as puppet masters directing the actions of possibly thousands of individuals outside their prison walls. By moving the command structure from state to federal prisons, law enforcement said they believe they’ve cut the head off of the Nuestra Familia snake.
The incidents took place in 28 California counties and 36 individuals have been apprehended thus far.
Nuestra Familia is a Mexican-American prison gang formed in Northern California in the 1960s and have been the target of numerous state and federal investigations throughout the decades. In 2011, the gang even came into the crosshairs of then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
“We have individuals who are associated with a very lethal gang that is mainly run out of the California State prison system, the Nuestra Familia…operating in conjunction with local Norteno street gang members, wrecking havoc on this community, committing acts of violence on this community and threatening the safety of everyone in this community,” said Harris back in 2011.
Nuestra Familia cooperated with other gangs including Nortenos, El Hoyo Grande and San Jose Palmas to allegedly commit the crimes being prosecuted in this case. “Operation Quiet Storm” is one of the largest gang busts in Northern California history and a historic cooperation between the FBI and local law enforcement agencies.