South Texas gang leader sentenced to life in prison for racketeering
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The local leader of the "Raza Unida" street gang was sentenced on Thursday to life in federal prison for drug trafficking and committing Violent Crimes in aid of Racketeering (VICAR), announced U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno, Southern 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 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Texas Department of Criminal Justice' Office of Inspector General; and the Corpus Christi Police Department's Gang and Organized Crime Units.
Johnny Joe Guerra, 33, Ricky Alejandro, 25, and Anthony Torres, 35, all U.S. citizens and residents of Corpus Christi, were sentenced Aug. 18 by U.S. District Judge Janis Jack. All three defendants pleaded guilty in June to various counts of an indictment in which they and 11 other members or associates of the Raza Unida gang were charged with VICAR. The charges include conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of methamphetamine and various federal firearm violations. The VICAR indictment alleged three violent crimes committed in Corpus Christi, Texas, by Raza Unida gang members, including a home invasion in which a man was shot and two other shootings at Corpus Christi nightclubs.
Guerra was sentenced to life without parole for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Ricky Alejandro was sentenced to three concurrent sentences of 140 months for assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering to be followed by an 84-month consecutive sentence for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence for a total prison term of 224 months (18 years eight months). Anthony Torres was sentenced to 57 months for assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering to be followed by a consecutive sentence of 120 months for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence for a total of 177 months (14 years nine months) incarceration. All federal prison terms are without the benefit of parole.
The charges in this investigation resulted from an ongoing investigation dubbed "Operation Prison Cell." All three defendants have been in federal custody pending this sentencing hearing and will remain in custody to serve their sentences.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Patterson, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.