Rolando Muniz a/k/a Black Rabbit, the one-time chair of the Texas Syndicate in San Antonio, has been sentenced to fifteen years in a federal prison on a racketeering conviction involving drug trafficking and a bystander's murder as reported by WOAI.
In the recently published Texas Gang Threat Assessment 2011, analysts for the Texas Department of Publuc Safety report that some of the state's most powerful gangs have formed strong ties with Mexican cartels. Those gangs include the San Antonio-based Mexican Mafia as well as the Texas Syndicate and Tango Blast, sometimes called Orejones in San Antonio, both of which have a presence here. * * * "The gangs increase their power and acquire wholesale quantities of drugs at reasonable prices, while the cartels extend their network of connections deeper into the United States."
*** After a decade on the lam a suspect in a gangland bloodbath in San Bernardino, CA is extradited from Mexico: "the case became known as the Dead Presidents because the four men who were killed were the leaders of two gang cliques known as the West Side Verdugos, police said."
*** Man charged for his alleged role in whacking three teenage boys in 2009 outside their high school in Chicago, IL: "the Latin Kings and Black P-Stone gangs had been in a running dispute in the area . . . in the weeks leading up to the attack."
*** The feds indict 13 suspected Latin Kings members, including former city council candidate Jorge Cornell, on racketeering charges in Greensboro, NC:
The indictment alleges that Cornell gained control of all North Carolina chapters of the Latin Kings "through violence, threats of violence, and coercion." It goes on to say that Cornell disguised the criminal activities of the group with a public relations campaign to "to falsely portray the Latin Kings as a public service organization."
*** In the nation's capital the feds indict seven suspected G-Rod or 1-4 crew members, including a former intern for a local councilman, on robbery, gun and murder charges.
*** It's decades in prison for 17 members of the Texas Mexican Mafia following their drug convictions in Austin, TX:
The Texas Mexican Mafia has a brutal history in other parts of the state but has generally not been very active in Austin, which has been dominated by the Texas Syndicate prison gang. The prison gangs generally recruit members behind bars, and those members band together to commit crimes upon their release.
*** The feds indict 18 suspected Texas Syndicate members on racketeering charges involving four murders, attempted murder, drug trafficking and other crimes in San Antonio, TX:
The Texas Syndicate formed in California's prison system in the 1970s, and has grown to be one of Texas' largest. Its members, who have a heavy presence in Austin, refer to each other as "cuernos" -- horns -- because they tend to be attired, or tattoo themselves, with the logo of the University of Texas Longhorns, gang experts said.
*** The California Supreme Court overturns convictions for reputed gang leader and his alleged accomplice "in two killings that sent both men to death row for 15 years": "Cleamon Johnson, known as 'Big Evil,' headed a gang called the 89 Family Bloods during the 1980s and early '90s that authorities contend was responsible for about 60 killings in South Los Angeles."
*** Two more Hilltop Crips sent to prison in Tacoma, WA: "The two men were among 36 people charged in February 2009 as local law enforcement tried to gut one of the city's oldest and arguably most dangerous gangs. * * * So far, 32 defendants have been convicted of crimes as a result of the crackdown."
The Mexican drug cartels have supply lines, distribution networks and operational cells in 250 cities across the United States, and they're getting a little help from their friends -- prison gangs connected to the Mexican Mafia -- with the dirty work as reported by Christopher Sherman for The Associated Press:
When Mexican drug traffickers need someone killed or kidnapped, or drugs distributed in the United States, they increasingly call on American subcontractors - U.S.-based prison gangs that run criminal enterprises from behind bars, sometimes even from solitary confinement. Prison gangs have long controlled armies of street toughs on the outside. But in interviews with The Associated Press, authorities say the gangs' activity has expanded beyond street-level drug sales to establish a business alliance with Mexican cartels. "They'll do the dirty work that, say, the cartels, they don't want to do" in the United States. "They don't want to get involved," said a former member of Barrio Azteca, a U.S. prison gang tied to Mexico's Juarez cartel. * * * The latest annual National Drug Threat Assessment, released in February by the Justice Department, said prison gangs were operating in all 50 states and were increasing their influence over drug trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border. * * * Sometimes they get help from corrupt court or prison employees.
The Mexican drug cartels have supply lines, distribution networks and operational cells in 250 cities across America, and with the increasing violence north of the border that is associated with the illicit trade federal law enforcement is targeting the U.S.-based street and prison gangs who serve as their affiliated partners and foot soldiers as reported by Dane Schiller for the Houston Chronicle. For example, on the drug gangs in Texas, Schiller writes:
In the past three years, officials from Houston to Laredo have prosecuted at least 77 upper-echelon gangsters and associates for ongoing conspiracies of moving drugs, weapons and cash in connection with Mexico's cartels. Some of the more well-known organizations that are aligned with cartels and have been taken on by authorities include the Mexican Mafia; the Texas Syndicate; Tango Blast; Hermandad de Pistoleros Latinos (Brotherhood of Latin Gunmen;) and Raza Unida (People United). * * * There are so many crimes and so many organizations that authorities concede it is tough to keep a scorecard. The relationships building between Mexico's cartels and Texas gangs are in many ways a natural progression since the Mexican drug cartels took over for the Colombians back in the late 1980s. They began pushing more and more drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border rather than trying to sneak them in from the waterfront edges of the country. And they did it with U.S.-based gangs. * * * The Lone Star State isn't alone, as gangs primarily in Southwest border states are gaining more clout — including cash and power — by working directly with Mexican cartels, according to a Justice Department's National Drug Intelligence Center report released last month. Gangs now are trafficking at the wholesale bulk level, instead of just the retail plastic-bag level, notes the report, titled the National Drug Threat Assessment 2010. The bond has helped Mexican cartels to be more active in more U.S. cities than any of their rivals. * * * The use of street and prison gangs has worked over and over for the cartels.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have launched what they call "the largest operation of its kind in our agency's history," rounding up more than 470 gang members, gang associates and others across the country in one week. The crackdown, dubbed Project Big Freeze, had a "particular focus" on "transnational gangs" and their associates inside the United States illegally, ICE chief John Morton told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday. * * * Transnational gangs are often involved in drug, weapons and even human smuggling, and like any gang they "have a propensity toward violence," ICE said in a statement.
East Side Riva gang members regularly acted as a tentacle of the powerful Mexican Mafia, trafficking methamphetamine and protecting their turf with attacks on black people and bystanders, authorities alleged Wednesday in a sweeping federal complaint. Charges came as 650 officers from 34 local and federal agencies swarmed the gang's territory Wednesday morning to make 50 arrests, including Riva leaders and members of their rivals, the 1200 Blocc Crips.
***Arlanza 13 member sentenced to death in Riverside, CA for following "Mexican Mafia bosses' orders to gun down an associate for cooperating with authorities in an auto-theft investigation."
*** Judge issues civil injunction against 49 alleged members of Hard Times in Garden Grove, CA which prohibits "members from operating or gathering as part of a gang"
*** Six reputed MS-13 members convicted in Charlotte, NC: "The federal jury deliberated for about four hours before finding the men guilty on all 36 charges. Their crimes ranged from murder and extortion to racketeering conspiracy and robbery."
Sherman Pride, 35, of Salisbury and Ronnie Thomas, 36, of Baltimore face a maximum of 20 years in prison on the racketeering charge. Pride could get a life term for conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Prosecutors said the men were members of the Bloods' violent Tree Top Piru group, which sold drugs across the state. Pride led a TTP set on the Eastern Shore, and Thomas was a gang leader in Maryland, according to the U.S. attorney's office. Thomas produced two "Stop Snitching" videos, which encourage retaliation against anyone who cooperatates with police. Eight others connected to the videos have been convicted in federal court. Five other defendants charged with gang racketeering are expected to go on trial in March.
The investigation began in April and initially focused on drug dealing by David Parks of Pittsburgh, authorities said. Investigators used wiretaps to identify other people involved in the ring, including a North Side street gang known as the Hoodtown Mafia, Attorney General Tom Corbett said in a news conference. The crack, cocaine and heroin originated with Mexican drug gangs, he said. "A lot of the drugs we're seeing, you find the origin is that they're coming from Mexico," Corbett said. "Atlanta is definitely a source city."
Shawn Clark, a 21-year-old West Seattle man who authorities said pimped out two teenage girls, then took all of their earnings to support his lifestyle, pleaded guilty in King County Superior Court today. His plea was followed by guilty pleas from fellow West Side Street Mobb gang member Thomas Foster, 20, to four counts, including promoting prostitution, assault and conspiracy to commit prostitution; and Gerald Jackson, 21, to one count of promoting prostitution. Clark, Foster and Jackson are the latest members of the West Side Street Mobb to enter guilty pleas after Seattle police, the FBI, the King County Sheriff's Office, as well as county and federal prosecutors, started investigating the gang last year for allegedly running a large juvenile prostitution ring. * * * Federal prosecutors say that the West Side Street Mobb was formed only three years ago but now has 50 members and associates, and has been tied to two fatal shootings and to bank fraud. A handful of members are currently being prosecuted in U.S. District Court. Teen prostitution has become a growing problem in Seattle.
A task force led by Phoenix police and the FBI announced they arrested 63 of the suspects early Wednesday. Two others turned themselves in, and nearly 40 people are outstanding, authorities said. The far-reaching criminal conspiracy case compiled by the FBI's Violent Street Gang Task Force received its nickname, Operation Trident, because investigators initially focused on three street gangs. Since January, investigators unraveled drug operations that supplied the local market and as far away as New York and Delaware.
The deadly stompings, gunplay and street fighting that claimed the lives of three teenagers became the focus of three separate murder trials last week. Each case provided a glimpse of a violent gang subculture in El Paso that is not likely to go away soon. "It's inherent that it will increase," said Mary Lou Carrillo, a retired El Paso police sergeant, who spent most of her career investigating gangs. "There is no way we will see a decrease in gang violence with a population increase." El Paso is not only a growing city but also a prime spot on one of the busiest narco-trafficking corridors in the nation.
"They are very well organized street gang from the Southside of Chicago and they are trying to spread out to other cities in the Midwest,” Lt. Steve Haney of the Sioux Falls Police Department said. Investigators believe they're doing that to expand their drug market.
They are the seventh and eighth men to receive life sentences from the 2005 sweep. "The Insane Deuces was a diabolical group," [Judge Harry] Leinenweber said at one point during the hearings. "I can't feel particularly sorry." Of the 16 men charged, 14 were convicted, one pleaded guilty and one is still missing. The racketeering convictions tied the men to three murders, five attempted murders and up to $1.25 million in drug trafficking in 2002.
*** A Top 6 gang member was arrested for a double shooting in 2006 outside a Lake Worth, FL restaurant, and "is also a suspect in numerous shootings": "the Top 6 street gang is linked to at least 150 shootings and 14 murders in Palm Beach County in recent years, according to authorities."
Samuel Logan from ISN Security Watch writes that the paramilitary organization Los Zetas -- most of whose original members have been killed -- no longer is an enforcement arm of the Gulf Cartel but has "evolved into a separate entity with its own agenda" known as the Zetas Organization which operates as an eclectic crime group with a number of diverse rackets:
What followed in their wake is called the Zetas Organization by an intelligence officer in the US who focuses on Mexican organized crime . . . . The Zetas Organization, he agrees, is very powerful in its own right and beholden to none, not even the current leaders of the Gulf Cartel. Unlike Los Zetas of old, the Zetas Organization operates more like a network comprised of isolated cells that all maintain control over a certain slice of turf between the US/Mexican border from El Paso east, moving south along Mexico's eastern coast, south through Veracruz, and east through Tabasco, and into the Yucatan peninsula. * * * The men and women who form part of this network likely number in the thousands. They operate a range of illicit businesses from the regular extortion of street vendors to charging other groups for passage through their territory, to gun and drug smuggling, human smuggling, kidnapping for ransom, money laundering and the operation of a vast network of illegal businesses.
The Zetas Organization infiltrates into the United States on an as needed basis through its connections "with a robust and widespread prison gang population in both California and Texas":
The Barrio Azteca and Texas Syndicate prison gangs are most likely the Zeta operatives inside the US. There may also be some links to the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), as well as other, smaller groups. Yet these groups are contractors, hired for one job, maybe two, explained the intelligence officer. But there is little to no evidence to suggest that these groups operate on some sort of retainer, or use the Zeta name to spread fear inside the US.
The Taliban gang is a group of mostly young men that emerged in 2002 around East Palo Alto and Menlo Park, police said. Members were booked into custody on suspicion of various offenses, including homicide, armed robbery, and trafficking in methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana and weapons. * * * Police seized $240,000 in cash, 10 automobiles, numerous assault rifles and handguns, and what the task force described in a statement as "significant quantities" of ecstasy pills, a smokable form of cocaine called base and other illegal narcotics.
The gang obviously was not interested in operating under the radar screen of law enforcement when selecting its name:
The gang took its name from the fundamentalist Islamic group that ruled Afghanistan until 2001, using "Taliban" for its public shock value rather than for any religious or political reason, officers said. They added that the gang members initially were the "muscle" for another gang, known as the Midtown Hogs. After the law enforcement crackdown on the rival Latino Sac Street gang in 2007, however, the Taliban gang quickly filled the crime vacuum and soon overshadowed the Hogs. "It's a local gang, not a nationwide gang, but they are very violent and notorious," said Charlene Thornton, special agent in charge of the San Francisco office of the FBI. "They are a significant threat to the communities here." Members are known for wearing camouflage fatigues and military hats, and employing sophisticated coded language and countersurveillance techniques, Soares said.
Online gang activity started to grow in 2004 and 2005, said Rob Gallardo, a gang prevention counselor with Operation No Gangs, a school and community youth gang prevention and intervention program. The Internet, he said, gives the gangs exposure and allows them to update information quickly. He said many street gangs post their activities, fights and gang initiations online. "This is a real phenomenon. A lot of activities are carried out in pictures, drug use is shown, damage on vandalism, fights are all categorized and documented," Gallardo said. "Graffiti is now out. The Internet replaced graffiti completely."
The street gangs in Texas maintain close ties to their Mexican counterparts over the border:
In a written statement, [Gov. Rick] Perry said gangs such as the Mexican Mafia, the Texas Syndicate, MS-13 and Barrio Azteca have become increasingly sophisticated in their criminal activity. He said they have an influence throughout the state and across the U.S.-Mexico border. Barrio Azteca, the largest and most active prison gang from El Paso, also has members in Juárez. It was founded in the mid-1980s to protect and unite Hispanic prison inmates, the El Paso Police Department Web site states. In the 1990s, the gang grew and was involved in activities related to narcotics, extortion, assaults, murders, theft and intimidation, the site states. The gang also formed and continues to create alliances with street gangs. Barrio Azteca is known to be associated with the Juárez Aztecas gang, which has been at the center of deadly prison riots at the state and municipal Cereso prisons.
According to ICE Houston has 89 active street gangs.