Victoria man receives prison term in Houstonfor street gang offenses

Nov. 10, 2010 at 5:10 a.m.

The sentencing of a Victoria man on Wednesday brought the total number of Raza Unida gang members sentenced for drug trafficking and other charges over the past week to 13.

Victoria resident Henry Garcia, aka Shorty, 32, was sentenced to 30 months during a federal hearing in Houston.

Garcia was among four other defendants who pleaded guilty in late 2009 and early 2010.

A search of Texas Department of Public Safety records revealed Garcia had a criminal history that expanded beyond Houston.

In 1997 and 1998, Garcia went to state jail on three drug possession charges.

The leader of the Houston-area Raza Unida gang, Pedro Muniz, aka Pete, was sentenced on Nov. 4 to 235 months imprisonment for leading a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine.

Meanwhile, Esteban Martinez, aka 21, who held a leadership position in the South Texas area for the gang, was also sentenced on Nov. 4 to 262 months imprisonment.

"The Raza Unida gang can be a violent group. Its members and their illicit activity pose a continuing threat to our communities," said U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno in a press release. "This prosecution exemplifies the cooperative law enforcement efforts in this district to stop the violent activities of street and prison gangs and make our neighborhoods safer."

Latino inmates inside and outside jail and prison facilities formed Raza Unida in the 1990s in the Texas prison system as a criminal enterprise with the purpose of enriching the members and associates of the gang through the distribution of narcotics.

The gang primarily traffics in cocaine and methamphetamine.

The indictment against the 15 gang members and associates stemmed from a three-year investigation led by the FBI and Houston Police Department, which culminated in their arrest.

The investigation revealed the defendants conspired with one another and others from October 2007 through April 2009 to procure illegal drugs, to use stash houses to store, wrap, package and distribute the drugs to numerous associates involved in drug trafficking in order to carry out the business of the gang and to use houses, apartments, hotel rooms, vehicles and cellular telephones to further the illicit drug trade in which they were allegedly involved.

During the investigation, agents seized approximately three kilograms of cocaine, 1.2 pounds of methamphetamine, more than $51,000 in U.S. currency and 15 guns, including an assault rifle.



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