Thursday, December 1, 2011

Barrio Azteca Gang Associates Plead Guilty in El Paso to Racketeering Conspiracy

WASHINGTON—Two associates of the Barrio Azteca (BA) gang pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, as FBI, DEA and the Justice Department officials announced today.

Yesterday, Fabian Rodriguez, 35, aka “Shamoo,” of El Paso, Texas, and today Mexican national Juan Manuel Viscaino Amaro, 41, aka “Porky,” pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Norbert J. Garney in the Western District of Texas, El Paso Division, to racketeering conspiracy.

According to court documents, Rodriguez and Amaro were associates of the BA. The group began in the late 1980s as a violent prison gang and has expanded into a transnational criminal organization. The BA is primarily based in West Texas; Juarez, Mexico; and throughout state and federal prisons in the United States and Mexico. The gang has a militaristic command structure and includes captains, lieutenants, sergeants, soldiers and associates such as Rodriguez and Amaro. This works to maintain power and enrich its members and associates through drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion, intimidation, violence, threats of violence and murder.
El Paso/Juarez--site of Barrio Azteca activity
Members and associates of the BA have engaged in a host of criminal activity committed since Jan. 1, 2003, say court documents. These include drug trafficking, extortion, money laundering, kidnapping, and murder. The group was involved in the March 13, 2010, murders in Juarez of U.S. consulate employee Leslie Ann Enriquez Catton, her husband Arthur Redelf and Jorge Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, the husband of a U.S. Consulate employee.

The BA makes money by importing heroin, cocaine, and marijuana into the United States from Mexico. Gang members and associates also allegedly charge a “street tax” or “cuota” on businesses and criminals operating in their turf. These profits support gang members in prison by funneling money into prison commissary accounts of gang leaders and pay for defense lawyers or fines. The “cuota” profits are also allegedly reinvested into the organization to purchase drugs, guns and ammunition.

During the plea hearings, Rodriguez and Amaro admitted to working with the BA in buying and selling illegal drugs on the streets of El Paso. They also admitted that the gang extorted money from drug dealers operating on the gang’s turf.

According to Rodriguez’s plea agreement, he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. Under Amaro’s plea agreement, if approved by U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone, he will receive a 12-year prison term. Sentencing dates for the defendants haven't been scheduled.

Thirty-five members and associates of the BA gang, including Rodriguez, Amaro and 11 others who have pleaded guilty, were charged in a third superseding indictment unsealed in March 2011 with various counts of racketeering, murder, drug offenses, money laundering and obstruction of justice. That trial is set to begin April 6, 2012.

Source: FBI release


fan of Gaia said...

That's two off the streets for now. Some good news during the often bleak scene.

Billie Greenwood said...

Scary stuff going down in the 'hood! I do give the FBI credit for nabbing these guys. I remember right after the U.S. embassy employee murders the Mexico government insinuated that the murdered husband of one of the women employees was involved in drug trade. Later, I spoke with his co-worker of many years who defended him with this steely, intense statement: "He didn't smoke. He didn't drink. He. Was. A. Vegit-TAR-i-an."