Jerry Brown announces Nuestra Familia prison gang bust

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Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Attorney General and Democratic candidate for governor Jerry Brown speaks during a news conference August 31, 2010 in Oakland, California. Attorney general Brown announced that law enforcement officers had arrested key members of the Nuestra Familia gang who had orchestrated crimes from inside prison using cell phones. Brown called for a solution to end the use of contraband cellular phones inside prisons.

California state attorney general and Democratic candidate for governor Jerry Brown Tuesday touted what he called a “major takedown” of key members of the Nuestra Familia prison gang.

Nuestra Familia’s operated in state prisons since the late 1960s. It claims 2,000 members behind bars and tens of thousands on the streets – mostly in central and northern California. It is one of seven major prison gangs that exert extraordinary control inside state prisons; others include the Mexican Mafia and the Aryan Brotherhood.

State Attorney General Brown said 250 law enforcement agents arrested 34 members – mostly in the Visalia area. He said the operation “stripped” the gang of key street managers who carry out the will of imprisoned Nuestra Familia leaders.

As he made the announcement, he called on the federal government to pass legislation that would allow the state to jam cell phones smuggled into prisons for gang leaders to issue orders.

Brown’s Republican opponent in the governor’s race, Meg Whitman, has criticized him for using announcements like this to bolster his campaign.

Brown’s said he’s simply doing his job.

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