FRESNO (CBS SF) — A high-ranking Nuestra Familia prison gang member has pleaded guilty to running a drug ring out of a Fresno County prison, authorities announced.
Salvador Castro was accused of using a contraband cellphone from inside Pleasant Valley State Prison to recruit and form a new gang regiment in Kings and Tulare counties to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California McGregor Scott said in a press statement.
According to the plea agreement, Castro coordinated with gang associates to transport about 10 pounds of meth from the Sacramento area to a residence in Visalia. He also arranged with co-conspirators outside of prison to protect the meth during transit, and discussed plans to distribute it to buyers in the Central Valley.
Castro has been serving a life sentence since 1997 for a third-strike conviction for possession of a firearm by an ex-felon. He faces faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Last year, Castro was among a group of dozens charged in federal court with running a major methamphetamine distribution and violent crime network controlled by the Norteño street gang and the Nuestra Familia prison gang following a 10-month multi-agency law enforcement operation.