Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Texas Gangs Have Evolving Relationship with Cartels

Authorities have only in recent years found closer ties in S. Texas.

By Jason Buch,
San Antonio Express-News Staff
Jorge Gomez (left) was identified in a 2009 trial as a Zetas operative; police believe that he is dead. Juan Manuel Marquez Rodriguez was sentenced to prison in connection with two murders tied to the cartel.

When the Gulf Cartel was looking for tons of marijuana that went missing north of the border in October, it turned to the experts.

The cartel needed people who knew their way around Hidalgo County, where the pot was stolen, and were familiar with local drug dealers. So they contracted members of Partido Revolucionario Mexicano, a U.S. prison gang based in the Rio Grande Valley that was started by Mexican citizens incarcerated in Texas.

The gang members made purchases from people they thought had the cartel's weed, then kidnapped them and ordered the dealers to reveal where the main stash was.

But on the way to the stash house, something went awry. Sheriff's deputies stopped the gang members and a shootout ensued. One deputy was injured and a gang member was killed. It was a rare instance of spillover violence in the area, Sheriff Lupe Treviño said.

The confrontation was the result of what state police say is an evolving relationship between Mexican drug traffickers and the prison gangs that long have had a hand in U.S. street-level drug distribution.

In the recently published Texas Gang Threat Assessment 2011, analysts for the Texas Department of Public Safety report that some of the state's most powerful gangs have formed strong ties with Mexican cartels.

Those gangs include the San Antonio-based Mexican Mafia as well as the Texas Syndicate and Tango Blast, sometimes called Orejones in San Antonio, both of which have a presence here.

“From the perspective of the gangs and cartels, the benefits of these relationships are fairly obvious,” the analysts wrote. “From a public safety perspective, the danger of these relationships is equally obvious. The gangs increase their power and acquire wholesale quantities of drugs at reasonable prices, while the cartels extend their network of connections deeper into the United States.”

Mexican drug cartels are increasingly relying on prison gangs based in Texas, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety Gang Threat Assessment 2011. The cartels have long supplied gangs with drugs. But in recent years, law enforcement officials say, the cartels started outsourcing drug transportation and violent acts to gangs in South Texas. Several examples were made public this year.

The relationship between prison gangs and the cartels is fairly new in South Texas, DPS Director Steven McCraw said.

In West Texas, the El Paso-based Barrio Azteca prison gang has for decades been associated with the Juárez Cartel and even has set up operations in Mexico. Members act as traffickers and enforcers.

In South Texas, Mexican cartels and Texas prison gangs long have done business together. But law enforcement first became aware of close ties between the groups about five years ago, McCraw said.

“The gangs are connected with the cartels really as a part of the transnational criminal enterprise,” he said. “That's the simple way to put it: It's business. Texas-based gangs provide the cartels two things: revenue and resources.”

As business relationships between the organizations have grown, the cartels have relied more and more on the Texas gangs for muscle to help them smuggle drugs and people north and guns south, McCraw said. The number of prison gangs that work with the cartels has grown too, he said.

In 2007, members of the Texas Syndicate in Laredo were contracted to carry out violent acts for the Zetas Cartel. An attempted kidnapping gone wrong and a contract killing resulted in murder charges against almost a dozen Syndicate members and associates. Among the evidence presented at trial was a picture of a Zeta operative posing with Syndicatos.

This fall, Laredo police arrested a group of people they say worked for the Zetas, identifying targets and hiring a member of the Hermandad Pistoleros Latinos prison gang to carry out killings. Police say the Zetas used the prison gang three times in 2010 to take out rivals.

In both cases, the collaboration was based on the personal relationships between cartel and gang members, police said.

High-ranking Zetas didn't meet with the prison gang bosses. Rather, Zetas who knew the prison gang members personally — sometimes since they were children — organized the hits at a fairly low level, said investigator Joe Baeza, a Laredo police spokesman.

“It's more so that they have camaradas (buddies) that are in the business and say, ‘Hey, you know what? I need this taken care of. Can you take care of it?'” Baeza said. “And they're willing to do it. Apparently they need the money.”

In other areas, the relationships are more formalized, McCraw said. And while the relationships between San Antonio's Mexican Mafia and cartel members haven't been laid out in court documents, there's reason to believe they're working together, he said.

According to a report from the Justice Department's National Drug Intelligence Center, the Mexican Mafia and Texas Syndicate work with the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel to smuggle drugs to San Antonio.

In a case this year out of Austin, investigators found top bosses in the Texas Syndicate were talking to high-ranking members of the Gulf Cartel to coordinate drug shipments, said Cmdr. Donald Baker, who heads the Austin Police Department's organized crime division.

The operation with federal authorities resulted in the arrests of 13 people, including a regional leader for the Syndicate. So far, 10 people have pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison.

The connection between the organizations can be fluid, with members of the same gang but in different regions working with rival cartels. The desire to make money is so great that even the white supremacist Aryan Brotherhood of Texas prison gang works with Mexican cartels to smuggle drugs, according to the DPS report. But, McCraw said, it's a strictly business arrangement.

“Are gangs going to battle each other for turf? Yes. Are you going to see the same types of things in San Antonio that you've been since the Mexican Mafia made San Antonio its headquarters? Yes. You're going to see those things,” he said. “But will you see the Mexican Mafia fight the Texas Syndicate because the Mexican Mafia is now working with the Zetas, as opposed to Texas Syndicate working for the Gulf Cartel? No, we have not seen any evidence of that whatsoever.”


  1. What happened to the friend of the men in the picture ? He was the boss on the murders i think his name was jesus campos?

  2. Texas authorities better start learning to act like authorities instead of just being named authorities and not knowing nearly enough to be effective.

  3. I live in Laredo, we cant even go outside at night anymore

    ok im kidding, its still safe.. FOR NOW

  4. (Aka la mona I used to see him at clubs all over laredo no wonder don't see him no more and that guy was always with him guess that was his sicario!

    1. La Mona died got shot in the face multiple times awhile back..

  5. Wat I want to know is how did jorge gomez die or who did it?

  6. these guys aint shit fuck tango blast

  7. Is there any Question that Mexican drug gangs operate in the US and that they kill people all the time in the US, I really do not understand these articles about "Drug War Spreading to the US", there is and has been a heavy presence of Mexican dope Criminals in the US, but in the US we have actual POLICE, law and order, in Mexico therev is very little.

  8. Everybody knows that Jorge Gomez was beaten to death for his part in that B.S. and his partner
    in that picture is the one who gave him up to save his own ass. The cops know it and the Texas
    D.P.S. along with the D.E.A. knows it! They know
    because they have thier snitches as well as they
    are as dirty as the scum bag gangs that murder and rape at will! Texas is no different than any
    border town in Mexico!

  9. I know he was shot and survived so that's accurate was he beaten to death or shot and u mean part in that kidnapping attempt he was killed for it said here he was zeta operative or guy here said he was cdg I knew him back before the split of gulf and zss I guess he told me he got shot. Saw him at bourbon st bar n grill I knew this guy since he was a kid at salinas elementary then went to u.south he was always a troublemaker but wats the real fact got 2 stories so far?

  10. They say they shot him at a taco stand or restaurant . But they said that he didnt die . But a trigger man returned and shot him in head. May be that they recieved a called from a high boss to make sure he was dead

  11. 6:34pm they says he is still the boss of a prison gang and is hiding in nuevo laredo and working for the zetas

  12. If u all don't know the stories stop talking trash. Bolla de chismosos chaffos.

  13. Where he get killed at I googled it nothin on his murder or death must have been in mexico I know his brother is alive he frequents laredo clubs weekly!! Anybody got more info on this

  14. Lo mato 27 el de guerrero para no pagarle los 300,000 que le devia de dos toneladas que eran del comandante ardilla de durango ...., abre los ojos 40 y 42 recuerden quien les mandava de 500,000 a 700,000 de toda la mota fea que nos mandavsn y como quiera la ventiamos acuerdate omar el reloj corum de color oro y estensible blanco con diamantes y a ti cuarenta el pincje camaro amarrillo a sin olvidar el caballo delos 101,000 que les regalo

  15. La raza de la mona todavia somos munchos

  16. Lo bueno que son munchos y de todos ésos munchos ninguna acabó la escuela. Por eso nosotros los que terminaron la escuela somos muchos mas.

    1. Si supieras punetas mi papa asta fue al colegio pongase aser algo de su vida enves de andar de metiche con jente ke ni conose pinche viejo mamon y todavia somos mucho de la raza de la mona aki andamos alv 💪

    2. Si eres su chavalon tu jefe era con madre. Me juntaba con el en SA. RIP


  18. Comments are yes comments the real life is your not live this life
    Only news no puedes aser tu paguina popular con estas noticias
    Q agaras de otras paguinas is no las vibes ?-—

  19. These guys aren't tuff take the gun away and they are little wussies!!!!

  20. Jorge fue bautizado con el apodo de "la Mona" por un compadre de el llamado Mando cuando estos jugaban futbol americano para la escuela united s. Resulta k en cada partido antes de salir al campo de juego, Jorge se peinaba el pelo antes de ponerse el casco. Lo cual muchos no entendian por razones obias. Un dia a su compadre se le ocurrio decirle en forma de broma "k monita" cuando lo vio peinandose. Y ahi es cuando empiesa la historia de "la mona". Creanme cuando les digo k era un peladaso. Solo los k tuvieron el gusto de conocerlo, saben de lo k hablo. Y k muchos ,incluyendome a mi, lo extrañaremos hasta el fin.
    Por mayoria,si no todos los comentarios anonimos k an puesto,son incorrectos. Solo el usuario k se hace llamar la mona sabe de lo k habla.

  21. Yo conosi jorge gomez era con madre el wey yo no supe ke se habia muerto ke en paz descanse!!!!!!

  22. Nadien save de lo q ablan en mi corazón la Mona siempre vivira y para el q dijo q se graduó de la escuela segun "el" pongase las pilas q después de casi ya 8 años andamos al pie del cañón y vamos para Nuevo Laredo a desaparecer todo lo q huela alos q aprobaron o opinaron sobre su muerte la venganza es dulce cuando esperas el momento justo y ya llego q comienze la fiesta 😎✌🏼

  23. Pinche raza osikana ni saben ke paso y ay van todos moviendo la mamadora dan risa pinche jente sin vida ponganse aser algo alv 😂😂 viva la raza de la mona💪

  24. Los tejas ruled N L back in the day they had a bad ass enforcer from Chicago that would come and go fooled everybody. 7


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