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Del Rio Texas Mexican Mafia Member Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison on Racketeering and Drug Charges

JUN 03 (DEL RIO, Texas) - In Del Rio yesterday, 45-year old Texas Mexican Mafia (TMM) member Jesus Meza, Jr. (aka “Jesse”) was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release for violating federal racketeering and drug trafficking statutes announced Acting United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge James Spero, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit and Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw.

On July 24, 2013, Meza pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute and one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana. From 2010 until his arrest on September 28, 2012, Meza was responsible for collecting the “dime” or drug tax from drug dealers in Del Rio on behalf of the TMM. In this role, Meza harassed and intimidated individuals into paying funds to the TMM. Additionally, in 2012, Meza and fellow TMM member Daniel Rosario Lara (aka “Diablo”), age 31, were tasked with kidnapping and killing another TMM member who violated TMM rules. However, FBI agents and local law enforcement officers were able to intercept Meza and Lara before the kidnapping and murder occurred.

Other sentences previously handed down to co-defendants for their roles in the criminal enterprise include: Daniel Rosario Lara, 240 months imprisonment; 45-year-old Jose Cardona (aka “Tinga”), 240 months imprisonment; 22-year-old Joel Costilla (aka “Sharky”), 235 months imprisonment; and, 22-year-old Jessica Meza, two years imprisonment. Four remaining co-defendants, who have previously entered guilty pleas and are awaiting sentencing, include: 48-year-old TMM Del Rio leader Roberto Villarreal (aka “Flaco”); 42-year old Ricardo Zapata (aka “Richie”); 28-year-old Joe Lee Jimenez; and, 23-year-old Ray Rene Salgado. Their sentencings are scheduled for later this year.

This investigation was conducted by the FBI together with HSI, Texas Department of Public Safety--Criminal Investigations Division, and the DEA. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection also assisted in the investigation.

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