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Transnational Gangs

Texas 'Mexican Mafia' gang member receives 3 life prison terms plus 17 1/2 years

Defendant committed racketeering offenses, murdered two men, and assaulted a detention guard

DEL RIO, Texas – A gang member with the Mexican Mafia in Uvalde, Texas, was sentenced Wednesday to three consecutive life federal prison terms plus 210 months for committing racketeering offenses and assaulting a prison guard.

This sentence was announced by Robert Pitman, U.S. Attorney, Western District of Texas. This case was investigated by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), FBI, U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), and Val Verde County Sheriff's Office.

Javier "Javi" Guerrero, 24, from Uvalde, Texas, appeared April 10 before a federal judge in Del Rio, Texas. He was sentenced to three consecutive life prison terms plus 17 ½ years for committing racketeering offenses and assaulting a guard at the GEO Correctional Facility in Val Verde County.

According to court documents, in July 2011, a federal grand jury found Guerrero guilty of several racketeer influenced corrupt organization (RICO)-based charges. These charges included one count of conspiracy to conduct the affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering, and two counts of violent crimes in aid of racketeering. Those charges centered on various federal racketeering offenses committed in south Texas, including Uvalde, Eagle Pass, Del Rio and the surrounding areas. His criminal history also includes the murders of Christopher Mendez and Jose Damian Garza. Mendez was killed Dec. 6, 2006, near Cancan, Texas; Garza's murder took place in Hondo, Texas, July 19, 2008.

"Mr. Guerrero and those involved in organized criminal activity, including those in the Mexican Mafia and other violent groups, should know that we will leave no stone unturned in prosecuting them and making sure that they are put where they can no longer pose a threat to the public. For Mr. Guerrero, this will be for the rest of his life," stated U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman.

Guerrero is the last of 12 defendants convicted in this conspiracy to be sentenced to federal prison for RICO-based violations. The other prison terms handed down ranged from seven years' incarceration to life in federal prison. 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 murder.

"Today's significant prison sentence of this dangerous individual is a positive step toward ridding our communities of violent street gangs," said Vincent Iglio, special agent in charge of HSI San Antonio. This sentence sends a strong message that HSI and its law enforcement partners will continue to conduct aggressive enforcement actions against gang members and their associates."

On October 25, 2011, while Guerrero was in custody waiting for sentencing on the federal racketeering-based charges, he assaulted a corrections officer by striking the officer in the face with his fists and his knees. As a result, the guard suffered cuts to his nose, as well as facial bruising and lacerations. On April 24, 2012, Guerrero pleaded guilty to one count of assaulting a federal officer.