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Narcotics
01/08/2020

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South Texas gang member sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for role in massive drug trafficking scheme

VICTORIA, Texas – A ranking member of the Texas Chicano Brotherhood (TxCB) was sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison Wednesday for his role in a massive drug trafficking scheme.

This investigation was conducted by: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Victoria, Texas; HSI in Falcon Dam, Texas; Texas Attorney General’s Office Criminal Investigation Division (CID); Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in McAllen, Texas; the Texas Department of Public Safety CID in Starr and Hidalgo Counties and the Texas Border Prosecution Unit.

Rafael Diaz, 31, Rio Grande City, was sentenced to 145 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by 5 years of supervised release for conspiracy to possess and distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. Diaz pleaded guilty to the charges, Feb. 4, 2019.

The TxCB is a violent criminal organization operating primarily in Starr and Hidalgo Counties along the U.S. – Mexico border in South Texas. Members have been involved in numerous crimes to include drug, firearms and human trafficking; kidnappings; home invasions; aggravated assaults; murders and other major crimes.

As a result, law enforcement launched a multi-agency investigation into their criminal activity in May 2016. The investigation resulted in the identification of at least 70 members and criminal associates of the TxCB to include the groups senior leaders.

Authorities had identified Diaz and other TxCB members as part of a “rip crew.” The crew used force and intimidation to steal marijuana from drug smugglers and traffickers in the Rio Grande Valley area and re-sell it at discounted prices.

The investigation involved the smuggling and distribution of at least 1,000 kilograms of marijuana between February 2017 and February 2018. During that time, Diaz and other TxCB members were responsible for smuggling and/or stealing multiple loads of marijuana in and around Rio Grande City. Law enforcement interdicted at least five loads linked to Diaz and other members of the TxCB.

Diaz will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prison facility to be determined in the near future.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patti Hubert Booth and David Paxton prosecuted the case.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 01/10/2020