Members of Mexican cartel La Familia arrested in Canada –
Tango Blast and Tango cliques are located in many major cities across Texas. Tango Blast first developed as a self-protection group against more established prison gangs, such as Texas Mexican Mafia and Texas Syndicate. The gang has grown rapidly and boasts the highest membership numbers among prison gangs in Texas. Due to the rapid growth of Tango Blast and Tango cliques, as well as its high level of criminal activity, propensity for violence and relationships with Mexican cartels, the gang poses a significant threat to Texas.

Above: A Tango Blast tattoo.
Texas Syndicate (TS) is a violent prison gang that originated in the California penal system over 40 years ago. Texas Syndicate moved into Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) prisons and onto the streets, often working with Mexican cartels such as Los Zetas. Recent law enforcement investigations targeting the gang have resulted in the arrest of high-ranking members, dismantling top leadership positions within each of TS’s regional hierarchies. Texas Syndicate remains a resilient criminal threat to Texas.

Above: This undated picture, introduced as evidence at the trial of former Texas Syndicate Laredo sillon, or chairman, Tomas "Tom Cat" Barrera, 41, shows Jorge "La Mona" Gomez, who was identified during the 2009 trial as a Zeta cartel operative who police believe has since died, and Texas Syndicate member Juan Manuel "Pugs" Marquez Rodriguez, 31. Marquez pleaded guilty to two murders he'd been hired to take part in by the Zetas and is serving a 20-year prison sentence.
Despite having its threat level downgraded in 2012 because of significant law enforcement targeting, Texas Mexican Mafia (TMM) has upheld its membership size, commitment to prosper from the sale and distribution of firearms and illicit drugs, and involvement in violent crimes. TMM will likely continue to remain organizationally effective and engage in criminal activity.
Barrio Azteca (BA) has lost much of its support in the last year due to the deteriorating influence of the Juarez Cartel. In addition, law enforcement efforts have been successful in targeting the gang. Although predominantly located in El Paso and Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, arrests of BA members have been active in Wichita Falls and Houston.

Above: Jesus Ernesto Chavez Castillo aka "El Camello", who is suspected of ordering the assassination of a U.S. Consulate worker in Ciudad Ju?rez and at least one other deadly attack in Mexico's bloody drug war, appeared in the courtroom of U.S. Magistrate Judge John Primomo for a closed-door hearing that took about 40 minutes. A member of "Los Aztecas," or the Barrio Azteca gang of El Paso, he told authorities he was ordered to arrange the killing by gang members. The gang operates in both border cities.
The Latin Kings is a violent street gang that originated in Chicago, Illinois in the early 1960s. Originally created to overcome racial prejudice, the gang soon became a criminal force. The gang migrated into Texas shortly after its creation, and began to open local chapters. Due to its interstate structure and criminal growth, Latin Kings has increased its threat to the state of Texas.
Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) is the best known transnational street gang in the world, with ongoing command, control and coordination between gang leaders and cliques in different countries. MS-13 remains a constant threat to the state of Texas through its use of violence and disregard of law enforcement.
The Sureños originated as a gang confederation closely aligned under the umbrella of the California Mexican Mafia. As such, they often utilize the number 13 as a sign of respect to the California Mexican Mafia (the letter M being the 13th letter in the alphabet). Although many gangs in Texas may use the Sureños name, not all of them are affiliated with the California-based confederation. We assess that Sureños will strive to establish a stronger presence in Texas in the near future.
The Bloods are a violent street gang that originated in Los Angeles, California in the the early 1970s, with ties to People-Nation-affiliated gangs. The gang originally developed as an offshoot clique of the Crips gang. The Bloods' presence in Texas has been documented sing the 1980s. Multiple cities in Texas have instituted gang injunctions against the Bloods and their rivals, the Crips. The Bloods' overall presence, the level of their criminal activity, and the violence perpetrated by its members qualify them as a serious threat in Texas.
The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) was formed as a white supremacist prison gang, but places its racist ideology secondary to its everyday criminal activities. Aryan Brotherhood of Texas is not considered a threat to the border areas of Texas, but threatens Texas internally because of its involvement in violent crimes, the methamphetamine business, and frequent property crimes. Multi-agency investigations have seriously affected ABT’s leadership structure and effectiveness.

Above: Steven Walter Cooke, a general in the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. The undated photos are courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and have never before been published. They were found on a phone that was captured by law-enforcement authorities and used to prosecute Cooke, a Tomball resident.
Formed in the 1960s, the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (Bandidos OMG) conducts its illegal activities as covertly as possible and avoids high-profile activities such as drive-by shootings that many street gangs tend to commit. However, members are not covert about making their presence known by wearing the gang colors, insignia, and riding in large groups. They seek to turn public sentiment in their favor by organizing frequent charity runs. Bandidos are likely to focus on recruiting new members with no criminal history.

Above: European, Australian and U.S. members of the Houston, Texas-led Bandidos gang on way Wednesday, March 20,1996, to the funeral of their Danish comrade Uffe Larsen at the church in the village Stenloese 35 kilometers northwest of Copenhagen.
The Texas Chicano Brotherhood (TxCB) emerged in Hidalgo, Texas after its two founding members defected from the Tri-City Bombers. The prison gang follows the traditional philosophy of “blood in, blood out” membership, common with other prison gangs. Historically, TxCB recruited its members in prison; however, the gang has been forced to recruit members from the street after established prison gangs prohibited them from recruiting in the prison system.
Hard times haven't prevented La Familia from expanding their drug-related interests, according to a new report out of Canada.
Four members of La Familia were arrested north of the border on Tuesday, the Edmonton Journal reports. While there are no charges at the moment, authorities believe the gang was trying to gain control of the drug distribution network in Alberta.
Since 2009, the drug cartel had suffered a number of setbacks, including the death and capture of two of their top leaders and the rise of the splinter organization, the Knights Templar.
In Texas, authorities have accused the group of distributing large amounts of drugs from Austin. In the Dallas area, a number of individuals were arrested for trafficking crystal methamphetamine.
Do you know all the gangs threatening Texas? See the gallery above to learn more.
John-Henry is a digital producer for the Houston Chronicle.


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