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Transnational Gangs
07/29/2011

Mexican Mafia member sentenced to 18 years in prison

EAGLE PASS, Texas - A member of the Mexican Mafia, who was responsible for numerous acts of violence and narcotics smuggling and distribution, was sentenced on Thursday to 18 years in federal prison. This sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Miguel Guerrero, 39, of Uvalde, Texas, was sentenced July 28 for violating the racketeering influenced corrupt organizations (RICO) statute. According to court documents, Guerrero conspired with nine other individuals to conduct racketeering activity on behalf of the Texas Mexican Mafia. The conspirators engaged in murder, solicitation of murder, drug trafficking and extortion. The extortion included coercive collection of a 10 percent drug tax, also known as "the dime," from drug distributors known to the members of the criminal enterprise. Collection was enforced by robbery, serious bodily injury, or other acts of violence, including murder.

"This significant prison sentence sends a strong message that HSI does not tolerate brazen acts of violence," said Jerry Robinette, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in San Antonio. "This 18-year sentence also demonstrates that law enforcement and the community are united in our commitment to fight back and drive gang violence out of our neighborhoods."

Ten additional defendants potentially face long-term sentences or life in prison after they enter their guilty pleas.

Information received by ICE HSI and other law enforcement agencies indicates that criminal gangs in North Texas are becoming increasingly involved with smuggling and distributing narcotics, laundering illicit drug proceeds and other illegal activities.

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 Texas-Mexico international border in the cities of Eagle Pass, Del Rio, Crystal City, Carrizo Springs, Uvalde, Sabinal and Hondo.