Monday, October 17, 2011

In Oakland, High-Ranking Nuestra Familia Gangster Accused of Killing Recently Paroled Murderer and Woman

In her “Gang Glossary,” Julia Reynolds writes:

Nuestra Familia, NF

The “parent” prison gang of Norteños, formed in the 1960s for farm town inmates to defend themselves from the Mexican Mafia. Said by law enforcement to have more than 600 murders to its name, and many of the victims are NF members, killed over betrayal or internal power struggles.

Nuestra Familia supposedly sprang up as a defense organization against the Mexican Mafia, which is the parent prison gang of the Sureños.

Prison gang member charged in double slaying
By Henry K. Lee
San Francisco Chronicle
October 16, 2011 8:03 a.m.

(10-16) 08:03 PDT OAKLAND -- A top-ranking member of the deadly Nuestra Familia prison gang who served time in federal prison has been arrested and charged with the stabbing deaths of two people found in a burning Oakland apartment, authorities said.

Henry Cervantes, 47, has been charged with two counts of murder in the slayings of Johnny Gilbert Navaerette, a 73-year-old paroled killer, and Renee Washington, 56.

The bodies of Navaerette and Washington were found in a second-floor apartment on the 3100 block of Coolidge Avenue in Oakland early Sept. 11 after firefighters doused a blaze there.

Autopsies determined that both had been stabbed to death, and investigators believe the fire was set to cover up the slayings, police said. Public records show that a relative of Cervantes has lived at the building, which houses an acupuncture clinic on the first floor.

Cervantes was arrested Sept. 29 while visiting his federal probation officer in Oakland, records show. He is being held without bail.

In 2004, Cervantes was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison after being convicted of conspiracy to conduct the affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity.

He was released from custody in April 2010. In May and June 2010, he tested positive for methamphetamine while on supervised release, authorities said.

Federal prosecutors said top officers of Nuestra Familia issued orders to their associates on the streets from inside the security housing unit at California's toughest lockup, Pelican Bay State Prison.

Navaerette also spent time behind bars. He was convicted of second-degree murder and being a felon in possession of a gun for fatally shooting a man in 1981 in a dispute over heroin. Navaerette was paroled last year.

E-mail Henry K. Lee at

[Thanks to reader-researcher RC.]

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