The Mexican Mafia, a notorious prison gang formed in 1957, is said to be the most dominant force behind the wall. It appears that the ranks of “La Eme” have been bolstered over the past few weeks after the sentencing of close to two dozen members and associates for participating in a sizable, Texas-based drug ring that slung heroin, cocaine and meth.
On February 5, the ringleader, Juan Pablo Contreras, 43, was sentenced to close to 33 years in prison. According to the DEA, he would buy the drugs wholesale in Mexico and set up shop in the Houston and San Antonio areas. He would hit Modesto Ramirez Jr., 46, Julio Jesus Rangel, 33, Jaime Tomas Hernandez-Rocha, 48, Pablo Contreras Jr., 44, Guadalupe Mario Contreras, 53, Carlos Contreras, 33, and Raul Victoriano Rojas, 43, off with keys to distribute. All pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges, except Ramirez, who was convicted of possession with the intent to distribute heroin and sentenced to 16 and a half years. Rojas received the same sentence. Guadalupe Mario Contreras was sentenced to almost 22 years. Carlos Contreras and Pablo Contreras Jr. were each hit with sentences of 17 and a half years. Rangel will be sitting for 20 years, while Hernandez-Rocha, the enforcer of the clique will serve 21.
Steve Contreras, 37, Eufrosina Lopez, 44, Jose Fernando Lomeli, 27, and Luis M. Salinas, 48, all pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute heroin. Respectively, they will serve sentences ranging from five to six and a half years. Orlando Ibarra, 35, was sentenced to two years and change after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute less than 500 grams of cocaine.
Victor Contreras, 25, Martin Contreras Jr., 27, Guadalupe Bedarte, 32, Jorge Guerra, 43, Christopher O’Bryant, 29, Juan Leopoldo Arvizo, 30, Eduardo Santa Cruz, 35, and Yvonne Hernandez, 43, were each convicted on conspiracy charges. Their sentences range from close to one to eight years in the feds.
Convicted of of conspiracy to maintain drug-involved premises, Monica Ortega, 40, was sentenced to 12 and a half years. With a conspiracy to commit money laundering, Arnulfo Valdez, 45, was sentenced to nine years. Ana Rosa Contreras, 31, also pleaded guilty to money laundering charges. She is Carlos Contreras’ wife. While she got off easier than the rest with a sentence of three years on probation, she will surrender their $300,000 home to the government, after admitting that it was bought with drug proceeds.
The indictment came as a result of “Operation X3,” an investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a collaborative effort by federal and state law enforcement outfits.