The U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Texas on July 7, 2011 released the following:
“FEDERAL JURY IN DEL RIO CONVICTS TWO TEXAS MEXICAN MAFIA MEMBERS
Defendants join ten others in awaiting sentencing in this case for violating the federal RICO statute
United States Attorney John E. Murphy announced that in Del Rio, two Texas Mexican Mafia members face life in federal prison after a federal jury last night returned guilty verdicts against the defendants for various federal racketeering offenses committed in Uvalde, Eagle Pass, Del Rio and the surrounding area.
Jurors convicted 23-year-old Javier “Javi” Guerrero of Uvalde, Texas, and 26-year-old Victor Esquivel of Eagle Pass, Texas, of conspiracy to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute. Testimony during trial revealed that Guerrero and Esquivel, together with ten other individuals, 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 ten 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.
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 Christopher Mendez in Concan, Texas, on December 6, 2006 and Jose Damian Garza in Hondo, Texas, on July 19, 2008. Esquivel was also convicted of conspiracy and violent crime in aid of racketeering for the murder of Garza. Guerrero and Esquivel are scheduled to be sentenced on December 12, 2011.
“The evidence presented at trial clearly demonstrates that the violence associated with the Texas Mexican Mafia is not confined to large metropolitan areas such as San Antonio, as many may have thought. The gang’s tentacles have spread to small towns and rural communities, bringing with them the wanton acts of violence, including murders, which have come to me the hallmark of the Mexican Mafia. As illustrated by this prosecution, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies will continue to work together to bring these violent thugs to justice wherever they have taken their criminal conduct,” stated United States Attorney John E. Murphy.
Ten additional co-defendants face up to life in federal prison after entering guilty pleas to the RICO conspiracy charge prior to jury selection.
“Mexican Mafia used violence to spread fear throughout our community,” said Jerry Robinette, special agent in charge of the ICE HSI office in San Antonio, Texas. “As demonstrated by this trial, local members of the Mexican Mafia operated with a level of brutality alarming to even street gang standards. These convictions demonstrate that law enforcement and the community are united in our commitment to fight back and drive gang violence out of our neighborhoods.”
“As evidenced by this investigation, the Mexican Mafia, and its brutal methods, remain a direct and constant threat to our local communities and ultimately, our national security. The FBI, in close partnership with its federal and local law enforcement partners, and with the essential assistance of the local citizenry, will likewise continue to dismantle any and all Mexican Mafiarelated activities as they are identified,” said Special Agent In Charge Cory B. Nelson, FBI San Antonio.
The Texas Mexican Mafia was formed in the early 1980’s 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.
This case resulted from a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Texas Department of Public Safety – Criminal Investigations Division, with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Hondo Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety – Texas Rangers, Uvalde Police Department and the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office.”
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