Texas Mexican Mafia General Convicted
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 11, 2013|
HOUSTON—Eric Gomez, aka Valla, 37, of San Antonio, a general in the Texas Mexican Mafia Prison Gang, has entered a plea of guilty to his role in the distribution of heroin, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
Gomez was charged along with 25 members or associates of the notorious Texas Mexican Mafia (TMM) prison gang with trafficking in heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, as well as firearms violations, distributing explosive materials, and violent crimes in aid of racketeering in October 2012. Court records showed the TMM gang made money by trafficking heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine and by selling firearms.
The TMM formed in the early 1980s in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. During a four-year period from 2008 through October 2012, the TMM procured illegal drugs and distributed the drugs to numerous associates involved in drug trafficking in order to carry out the business of the gang. Gang members also sold numerous assault rifles and other guns to FBI sources, as well as detonation cord. Gomez himself facilitated the sale of 5.5 kilograms of heroin to a FBI confidential source from December 2011-January 2013.
Today’s plea is one of several that have already occurred in the case. Among those who have entered pleas of guilty include Robert Arechiga, 35; Francisco Galvan, 46; Alexander Garcia, 40; George Maldonado, 46; Carlos Romero, 31; Juan Sarmientos, 46, all of Houston; Valentin Ayala-Gutierrez, 53; Gilbert Gonzalez, 42; Jose Cerda, 27; and Enrique Bravo, 39, all of San Antonio; Ruben Esparza, 35, of Robstown; Jorge Montemayor, 37, and Michael Villarreal, 33, both of Baytown; Alvin Valadez, 42, of Seguin; and Ernesto Villarreal, 36, of Corpus Christi.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas, who has accepted all the guilty pleas in the case, has set sentencing for Gomez for December 2, 2013, at 2:00 p.m., at which time he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment up to a possibility of life as well as a $10 million fine. The others are set for sentencing at various times in early 2014.
Gomez will remain in custody pending sentencing.
The case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Office of Inspector General, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, police departments in Baytown and Houston, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorneys Tim S. Braley and Mark Donnelly are prosecuting the case.