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Transnational Gangs

Texas Mexican Mafia gang member sentenced to 25 years in prison for racketeering

DEL RIO, Texas — A Texas Mexican Mafia member was sentenced on Thursday to 25 years in federal prison for various federal racketeering offenses, and aiding and abetting in the July 2008 murder of Jose Damian Garza in Hondo, Texas. The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman, Western District of Texas.

This joint investigation was conducted by 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 the Uvalde County Sheriff's Office.

Jesse Joe Oranday, 24, of Hondo, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute in July 2010. In addition to his 300-month prison term, he will also serve five years of supervised release and pay a $5,000 fine.

Oranday is the tenth of 12 defendants convicted in this RICO conspiracy to be sentenced. Prison sentences handed down thus far in this case range from 84 to 300 months. The remaining two defendants – Javier "Javi" Guerrero, 23, of Uvalde, Texas and Victor Esquivel, 26, of Eagle Pass, Texas – are scheduled to be sentenced on April 12 before U.S. District Judge Alia Moses in Del Rio.

Guerrero and Esquivel both face sentences of mandatory life imprisonment without parole after a jury convicted them in July 2011 of violating the RICO statute. Guerrero, who held a leadership position in the criminal organization, was also convicted of substantive charges of conspiracy and violent crime in aid of racketeering for the murders of Garza and Christopher Mendez in Concan, Texas, on Dec. 6, 2006. Esquivel was also convicted of conspiracy and violent crime in aid of racketeering for the murder of Garza.

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. Collection was enforced by robbery, serious bodily injury, or other acts of violence, including death.

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.