CORPUS CHRISTI–Thirteen members of the Raza Unida street and prison from Corpus Christi were indicted by a federal grand jury for taking part in murder, robbery, drug smuggling and racketeering in an effort to increase their position in the gang world.
Preston Mascorro, 29, Karlos Bouchot aka Karlos Gustavo Bouchot, 35, Rudy Rodriguez, 31, Martin Guardiola III, 35, Ricky Alejandro, 25, Israel Plazola, 26, Michael Ornelas, 31, Anthony Torres, 34, Jerome Aranda, 31, Johnny Joe Guerra, 33, Orlando Garcia aka Orlando Amador Garcia, 32, Valerie Botello, 28, and Stephen Ayala, 34, are now in federal custody, facing a seven-count indictment.
With the exception of Guerra and Aranda, who were arrested on Wednesday, all others were either in federal or state custody.
“This multi-agency effort will produce a safer community for our citizens, said U.S. Attorney Jose Angel Moreno, overseeing the Southern District in Texas. “We will continue to aggressively target gangs who prey upon our communities and ensure that they are brought to justice.”
The indictment states Mascorro, Bouchot, Rodriguez, Guardiola, Alejandro, Plazola, Ornelas and Torres were members Raza Unida and engaged in acts of violence.
In count 1-4, it says Bouchot and Rodriguez murdered J.S. Rodriguez and assaulted two of his associates last March.
Count five charges Mascorro, Bouchot, Aranda, Guerra, Garcia and Botello with conspiring together between November 2009 through May 2010 to distribute approximately 5.66 kilograms of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine.
Alejandro is charged in count six with possessing and brandishing a 9 mm caliber semi-automatic Beretta on May 1, 2010, used in the March assault. Torres is charged with possessing and discharging a .40 caliber Beretta on Jan. 12, 2010, in assault with a deadly weapon offense alleged in count three.
Ayala, a previously convicted felon, is charged in the last count of the indictment with possessing three 12-gauge shotguns. As a previously convicted felon, Ayala is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms.
The three assault with a deadly weapons charges arise from a home invasion in which a man was shot and two other shootings at Corpus Christi nightclubs. The conspiracy to murder charge allegedly occurred at the (TDCJ) McConnell Unit Prison in Beeville, Texas.
“Criminal organizations actively engaging in violent crime will aggressively be investigated both on the streets of and within the prisons of Texas,” said John Moriarty of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. “Prison fences will not be an obstacle to rooting out criminals that prey on the public.”
“The arrests and prosecution of these gang members represent a major setback to this extremely violent prison gang,” said Chief Troy Riggs of the Corpus Christi Police Department.
During the course of the investigation leading to this indictment, agents and officers seized approximately six kilograms (13 lbs) of crystal methamphetamine worth more than $300,000 on the streets.
The thirteen defendants will appear in court on Friday for an arraignment and detention hearing. Federal prosecutors will ask they all be held without bond pending a federal trial.
–Manuel De La Rosa, South Texas Tribune, firstname.lastname@example.org