Fifteen Uvalde/Crystal City-Based Texas Mexican Mafia Members Indicted on Racketeering Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 01, 2011|
United States Attorney Robert Pitman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Cory B. Nelson announced that 15 Uvalde and Crystal City, Texas-based members and associates of the Texas Mexican Mafia (TMM) have been charged with conspiring to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute.
The TMM members charged in the RICO conspiracy include:
- Jorge Abel Ramirez (a/k/a “Hondo,” a/k/a “Superdope”), age 32, of Hondo and Crystal City;
- Geronimo Torres (a/k/a “Jerry,” a/k/a “G”), age 32, of Uvalde;
- Benito Benavides (a/k/a “Benny”), age 48, of Uvalde;
- Chris Gutierrez (a/k/a “Fire”), age 19, of Uvalde;
- Albert Torres (a/k/a “Terrible”), age 41, of Uvalde;
- Robert Marcus Castro (a/k/a “Tiny”), age 32, of Crystal City;
- Eric Velasquez Solis (a/k/a “Kilo”), age 32, of Uvalde;
- Mario Zavala, age 26, of Crystal City;
- Rodolfo Villegas (a/k/a “Rudy”), age 31, of Crystal City;
- Charles Martinez (a/k/a “Charlie”), age 29, of Crystal City;
- Eliseo Sanchez, III, age 29, of Crystal City; and,
- Sebastian Cortinas (a/k/a “Seabass”), age 28, of Crystal City and Eagle Pass.
A nine-count, 15-defendant indictment, returned on October 12, 2011, and unsealed today by U.S. District Judge Alia Moses, alleges that from January 1, 2010, until October 12, 2011, the defendants conspired to engage in a pattern of organized criminal conduct including: attempted murder, retaliation against an informant, extortion, and distribution of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine.
Additionally, Ramirez, Gutierrez, and Albert Torres are charged with conspiring on November 22, 2010, in Crystal City, Texas, to attempt to kill someone who provided information to law enforcement about the commission of a felony offense. Ramirez, Gutierrez, Albert Torres, Castro, Solis, Zavala, Villegas, Martinez, and Sanchez are also charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the retaliation offense. Ramirez, Castro, and Solis are charged with use and carrying of an AK-47 type firearm; Gutierrez and Albert Torres, a semi-automatic handgun, during the commission of the assault.
The indictment also charges that on March 20, 2011, while carrying out the mission of the TMM, Sebastian Cortinas knowingly carried and used a semi-automatic handgun during and in relation to a crime of violence.
The indictment further charges TMM member Chris Gutierrez and three associates—42-year-old Carlos Guerrero, of Uvalde; 20-year-old Zachary Vasquez, of Uvalde; and 20-year-old Jose Ibarra, of Uvalde—with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute less than 500 grams of cocaine on May 1, 2011, and October 6, 2011. Finally, the indictment charges Gutierrez, Vasquez, and Ibarra with possession with intent to distribute less than 500 grams of cocaine within 1,000 feet of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on October 6, 2011.
All of the defendants, with the exception of Sebastian Cortinas, are in federal custody. Initial Appearances begin at 9:00 tomorrow morning in Del Rio before U.S. Magistrate Judge Collis White. Upon conviction, the defendants face: up to 20 years in federal prison for the RICO conspiracy charge; up to 30 years in federal prison for the conspiracy to retaliate charge; up to 20 years for the assault with a deadly weapon charge; and, up to 20 years in federal prison for each of the drug charges. Defendants convicted of carrying, brandishing, or discharging a firearm face additional mandatory sentences of five, seven, or 10 years’ imprisonment.
This case resulted from a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Texas Department of Public Safety - Criminal Investigations Division, Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office, Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Marshals Service, with assistance from the Real County Sheriff’s Office, Hondo Police Department, Zavala County Sheriff’s Office and Uvalde Police Department. This case will be prosecuted in the Del Rio Division of the Western District of Texas.
An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.