The arrest of a man described by the authorities as a member of the Bloods gang in Galveston, Texas, has once again highlighted the issue of organized crime in the state.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Christopher Mason, 38, was described as a “career violent offender” and a gang member.
He was arrested on the morning of July 10, 2013, by Galveston police, with the assistance of the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office along with the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Violent Offender and Fugitive Task Force.
Multi agency approaches to arrests are not uncommon in the cases of defendants who are accused of being involved in gang activities.
Mason was arrested on a charge of aggravated sexual assault stemming from an alleged incident in June. A press release said he had been recently released from a prison in Texas and was a “confirmed member of the Bloods gang.”
Mason was arrested in the 1200 block of 26th Street in Galveston, and he was taken into custody after a brief standoff, stated a news release from the Galveston Police Department.
Officials cited a considerable history of violence including a homicide conviction. He was being held in the Galveston County Jail on $750,000 bond.
The task force, which is funded and led by the U.S. Marshal’s office, is made up of Galveston police officers and Galveston County sheriff’s deputies, stated the release.
Texas has a raft of laws aimed at organized gangs. Section 72.022 of the Penal Code makes it a Class A felony or misdemeanor to solicit another person to become a member of a criminal street gang.
Under Section 71.02 of the Penal Code, it’s an offense to engage in organized criminal activities. Offenses such as robbery, theft, kidnapping and assault will carry a stiffer penalty for members of street gangs.
Under the penal code a person commits an offense “if the person knowingly initiates, organizes, plans, finances, directs, manages, or supervises a criminal street gang or members of a criminal street gang with the intent to benefit, promote, or further the interests of the criminal street gang or to increase the person’s standing, position, or status in the criminal street gang.”
The legislation sets up “gang free zones” in areas such as schools, playgrounds and video arcades.
Last month a man from Dallas was sentenced to 150 months in federal prison for his role in a gang called the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) criminal enterprise.
James Marshall Meldrum, pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering offenses, the Dallas Morning News reported.
A different course of action was taken against Angel Interiano-Calderon, who was accused of membership of the notorious MS-13 gang. Federal immigration authorities deported the alleged Salvadoran gang member who was wanted for a 2009 murder.
He was flown to El Salvador by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and then turned over to police there.
Gang membership can be difficult to prove and there are gray areas such as in the case of people who may have been coerced into a life of organized crime. An experienced Dallas criminal defense attorney can deal with the complexities of Texas’ gang legislation.