Gang crimes are among the most complex offenses investigators and prosecutors deal with in Texas because they can involve a raft of offenses ranging from money laundering, drug offenses and murder. They can also cross the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
The complicated and far reaching nature of these crimes were illustrated this month when the leader of the cross-border Barrio Azteca gang was found guilty of numerous offenses including the assassination of two U.S. consulate employees and a Mexican national in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, in 2010.
Fox News reported on how at the trial in El Paso, Texas, Arturo Gallegos Castrellón was found guilty on all counts. The charges included five counts of racketeering, narcotics importation, narcotics trafficking, murder in a foreign country and money laundering. The court’s charge was 100 pages long.
Over the course of the trial, jurors were presented with evidence that Gallegos Castrellón masterminded a triple homicide in troubled Juarez in Mexico in March, 2010, of U.S. Consulate employee Leslie Enriquez, her husband Arthur Redelfs, and Jorge Salcido Ceniceros, who was the husband of another U.S. Consulate employee.
Jurors found Gallegos guilty of being the mastermind of the July 15, 2010, car bombing in Ciudad Juárez which targeted Mexican federal police.
The Fox report said the gang was formed in the jails of El Paso, Texas in 1986. It has thousands of members in Texas alone. The trial of Gallegos provided an insight into the “gruesome and violent nature of the Barrio Azteca gang and its counterparts in Mexico,” the report stated.
Gang member Jesus Ernesto “Camello” Chávez testified at the trial. He said Barrio Azteca sent two teams to the city of Torreón in Mexico to train with the Zetas, where among other methods they were “taught to kill people traveling inside moving cars.”
Chávez told the court he controlled a group of hit squads that were responsible for killing in excess of 2,000 people in Juárez as a war waged between rival drug cartels.
As well as cross border gangs, Texas has gangs that operate at a more local level. Recently a man was arrested in Galveston and accused of being in the street gang the Bloods.
These are complex crimes that often involve federal and local investigations and many offenses. Sentences are often severe. If you are charged with any type of organized criminal activity you should be sure to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who is well versed in the complexities of such charges.