DEL RIO, TX – In Del Rio, a federal judge has sentenced 33 members and associates of the Austin, San Antonio and Uvalde Chapters of the Latin King’s Central Region of Texas from 45 to 288 months in federal prison for their roles in a racketeering scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Gregg N. Sofer, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden, FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Steven S. Whipple, Texas Department of Public Safety (TXDPS) Director Steven McCraw, and Uvalde Police Chief Daniel Rodriguez.
According to court records, the defendants have operated a criminal enterprise in Central Texas for ten years beginning in 2005. Under the leadership of Texas-Central Region “Inca” Pete Perez in Austin (188 mos.), San Antonio Chapter “Inca” Joe Pierce (aka “Dro”) (252 mos.) and Uvalde Chapter “Incas” James Marty Long (aka “Whiteboy”) (264 mos.) and Jacob Mariscal (aka “Righteous”) (250 mos.), the defendants conspired to carry out unlawful acts including attempted murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, extortion, robbery, various firearms offenses and drug distribution involving marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine.
Charges included conspiracy to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute to include ten attempted murders, approximately ten assaults and various other acts of violence committed as a result of a prospect initiation, leaking of sensitive information to a non-Latin King member, breaking an organizational rule, retaliation against rival gang members, and for unpaid drug distribution debts.
“Violent gangs like the Latin Kings are made up of members who wake up each and every day intent on committing violence, dealing drugs, breaking our laws and threatening our social fabric. Simply put, they cannot be allowed to run unchecked in our streets,” stated U.S. Attorney Sofer. “Thanks to the hard work of Assistant United States Attorney Amy Hail, and the extraordinary efforts of HSI, DEA, and the Texas DPS, our community is safer. The sentences announced today ensure that these gang members will no longer be in a position to shoot, rob, extort or peddle poison in the Western District of Texas.”
Among the overt acts described in court documents are:
- In 2008, Latin King members assaulted a rival gang member by beating about his head, face and body with rocks, bats, and glass bottles.
- In 2009, Latin King members conspired to shoot a rival gang member in retaliation for the stabbing of a Latin King member and supplied the gun for the retaliatory shooting.
- In 2009, Latin King members struck a rival gang member in the head with a brick, and then brandished a shotgun while stating “I’m going to kill you” over a gang related dispute. That individual suffered non-life threatening injuries.
- In 2009, Latin King members engaged in a fistfight with rival gang members at a gas station and during that fight one of the Latin King members drove a vehicle into a group of rival gang members.
- In 2010, Latin King members used two females to lure two rival gang members to a residence where they were stabbed, punched, kicked, and beaten with a baseball bat.
- In 2010, Latin King members assaulted a rival gang member by beating him, striking him with a beer bottle, and stabbing him.
- In 2011, Latin King members engaged in a fight with rival gang members at a bar over a gang dispute, which resulted in the death of a Latin King member.
- In 2012, Latin King members attempted to murder a rival gang member by shooting at individuals standing in front a residence, causing a non-gang member to be hit by a stray bullet.
- In 2013, Latin King members attempted to murder a rival gang member by shooting him with a shotgun, stabbing him with a knife, and hitting him in the head with a brick while beating him in retaliation for previous fight the individual had with a Latin King member.
“Violent gangs have no room here in south Texas,” stated HSI Special Agent in Charge Folden, San Antonio Division. “These significant sentences take dangerous gang members off the streets and weaken the larger illicit organization. HSI will continue to stand united with local, state and federal law enforcement partners to dismantle these criminal organizations in an effort to protect our communities.”
“These federal prison sentences sends a clear message that the FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to work diligently to disrupt and dismantle gangs and rid our streets of these criminals and the violence associated with their activities,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Combs. “Communities and neighborhoods which this gang has impacted through drug dealing and violence deserve to be able to peacefully go about their daily lives without fear.”
“The sentencing of these 33 violent Latin King gang members sends a clear message to all who engage in violent criminal activity: DEA and our law enforcement partners will bring them to justice, no matter where they are or how long it takes,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Whipple, Houston Field Office.
HSI, FBI, DEA, TXDPS and the Uvalde Police Department investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy M. Hail prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.