Monday, April 16, 2012

"Mexican Mafia" Member Sentenced for Racketeering and Murder

A Texas Mexican Mafia member was sentenced Thursday, April 12, to two consecutive life sentences in federal prison plus 10 years for federal racketeering offenses and a murder in south Texas. This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman, Western District of Texas.

This investigation was jointly conducted by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the FBI, and the Texas Department of Public Safety's Criminal Investigations Division and Texas Rangers, with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Hondo Police Department, Uvalde Police Department, and Uvalde County Sheriff's Office.

U.S. District Judge Alia Moses sentenced Victor Esquivel, 26, aka "Youngster" of Eagle Pass, Texas. According to court documents, in July 2011, a federal jury found Esquivel guilty of several racketeering influenced corrupt organization (RICO)-based charges including one count of conspiracy to conduct the affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering and two counts of violent crimes in aid of racketeering.

The RICO offenses were committed in Uvalde, Eagle Pass and Del Rio, Texas, and the surrounding area. Jose Damian Garza was murdered in Hondo, Texas, July 19, 2008.

Esquivel is the 11th of 12 defendants convicted in this RICO conspiracy to be sentenced. Before this April 12 sentencing, prison sentences handed down had ranged from 84 to 300 months. The remaining defendant, 23-year-old Javier "Javi" Guerrero of Uvalde, Texas, is scheduled to be sentenced later this year by U.S. District Judge Alia Moses in Del Rio.

All 12 defendants conspired to conduct the affairs of the Texas Mexican Mafia through a pattern of racketeering activity, which included murder, solicitation of murder, drug trafficking and extortion. The extortion took the form of coercive collection of a 10 percent drug tax, also known as "the dime," from drug distributors known to the members of the criminal enterprise. This drug tax collection was enforced by robbery, serious bodily injury or other acts of violence, including murder.

The Texas Mexican Mafia was formed in the early 1980s by inmates in the Texas prison system. Over the years, the gang has expanded its efforts to promote widespread criminal activity through extortion, narcotics trafficking and violent crime. Also known as "La Eme" or "Mexikanemi," the organization has been the subject of numerous federal indictments in the Western District of Texas since 1991. This investigation, however, is the first to directly target the gang’s machinery operating along the southern international border with Mexico in the Texas cities of Eagle Pass, Del Rio, Crystal City, Carrizo Springs, Uvalde, Sabinal and Hondo.

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