Eagle Pass Mexican Mafia Members Arrested for Violating Federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization and Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering Statutes
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 23, 2014|
Fourteen Texas Mexican Mafia (TMM) members, including leader Jesus Lopez (aka “Worst Ever”), are in custody today, charged with violating the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act, to include alleged acts of murder, extortion, and drug trafficking in the Eagle Pass area. Five members also face charges under the Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering (VICAR) statute.
That announcement was made earlier today by United States Attorney Robert Pitman; Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Christopher H. Combs, San Antonio Division; Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw; Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph A. Arabit, Houston Division; Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Janice Ayala; and Chief Patrol Agent Rodolfo Karisch, U.S. Border Patrol, Del Rio Sector.
A five-count federal grand jury indictment, returned on Wednesday and unsealed today, charges all 14 defendants with one count of conspiracy violate the RICO Act. Jesus Lopez, Anselmo Flores, Francisco Hernandez, Hector Martinez, and Esteban Munoz are also charged with two counts of violent crime in aid of racketeering. Raul Herrera and Reynaldo Vivian are each charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
The indictment alleges that Flores, under the direction of Lopez and others, stabbed and murdered Eagle Pass resident Angel Cantu on January 22, 2011, while other TMM members stood guard with weapons. Furthermore, TMM members provided Flores with money to leave town after the murder to deflect law enforcement attention from the criminal enterprise. At the time of Cantu’s murder, the indictment alleges that Hernandez, aided and abetted by Lopez, Flores, Martinez and Munoz, assaulted another individual with a dangerous weapon.
The indictment further alleges that all 14 defendants conspired in the distribution of narcotics, as well as the extortion of cocaine distributors, in Eagle Pass since 2009. According to the indictment, proceeds from the distribution and extortion were transferred to the San Antonio branch of the TMM.
The indictment also alleges that around early December 2010, Lopez ordered Martinez, Hernandez, Flores, and others to retrieve and destroy firearms, which they did, that were used during the attempted murder of an individual who provided information about the TMM to law enforcement.
Hernandez, Lopez, Flores, Martinez, and Munoz face a mandatory life in prison sentence upon conviction of violent crime in aid of racketeering. Those five defendants, along with Herrera, face up to life in federal prison upon conviction of the RICO conspiracy charge. The other eight defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison upon conviction of the RICO conspiracy charge. Herrera faces between five and 40 years in federal on the drug conspiracy charge; and Vivian up to 20 years in federal prison on the drug conspiracy charge.
Beginning last night and continuing this morning, federal, state, and local authorities arrested Michael Eric Cantu, Esteban Munoz, and Reynaldo Vivian in Eagle Pass; Claudio Salinas in Del Rio; and, Anselmo Flores near Bismarck, North Dakota. The remaining defendants were already in custody prior to today.
This case resulted from a joint investigation by the FBI, Texas Rangers, Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division, DEA, HSI, and Border Patrol.
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.
|**Jesus Lopez, aka “Jessie,” aka “Worst Ever”||35||Eagle Pass|
|**Gerardo Castillo, aka “Jerry,” aka “Chingo Bling”||32||Eagle Pass|
|**Salomon Martinez, aka “Salo”||39||Eagle Pass|
|**Ivan Velasquez, aka “Pipi”||35||Eagle Pass|
|**Jose Alejandro Maldonado, aka “Chivia”||34||Eagle Pass|
|Claduio Salina, aka “Conejo”||34||Del Rio|
|**Juan Carlos Ledezma, aka “Yogi”||31||Eagle Pass|
|Michael Eric Cantu, aka “Miklo”||28||Eagle Pass|
|Anselmo Flores, aka “Chemo”||26||formerly of Eagle Pass|
|**Francisco Javier Hernandez, aka “Coco”||35||Eagle Pass|
|**Hector Angel Martinez, aka “Tonka”||35||Eagle Pass|
|**Raul Adrian Herrera, aka “Nano”||35||Eagle Pass|
|Esteban Munoz, aka “Rock”||31||Eagle Pass|
|Reynaldo Vivian, aka “Rey”||35||Eagle Pass|
** Was already in custody prior to today’s arrests