Mexican Mafia Members Nailed By FBI, Texas Rangers – OpEd
By Jim Kouri
Six San Antonio-based members and associates of the Texas Mexican Mafia (TMM) were arrested Friday based on two federal drug indictments.
Those arrested were:
- 45-year-old Robert Carreno, Jr, (aka “Lil Bit”);
- 39-year-old Tony Berlanga (aka “Tony”);
- 46-year-old Gabriel Quiroz (aka “Biker”);
- 48-year-old Guadalupe Ramos (aka “Lupio”);
- 56-year-old Julio Villanueva (aka “Shorty Hawk”); and,
- 63-year-old Teresa Alonzo (aka “Tia”).
Manuel Gonzales (aka “Speedy”), age 36, and Alexander Garza (aka “Animal”), age 35, were already in federal custody for a supervised release violation. Joseph Sanchez (aka “Cowboy”), age 41, and 20-year-old Santos Trevino (aka “Dedos,” “Beatles”) are currently in state custody on unrelated charges.
The first indictment, returned on October 5, 2011, and unsealed yesterday, charges all of the defendants, with the exception of Teresa Alonso, with one count of conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. Upon conviction, the defendants face a minimum mandatory 10-year term of imprisonment, and a maximum of life in federal prison.
Officials allege that from December 1, 2009, to July 20, 2011, the defendants were responsible for the distribution of at least 48 kilograms of heroin, which the TMM sold for $750,000. Authorities believe Carreno holds the rank of “Free World General” of the Texas Mexican Mafia.
Also, Carreno and Berlanga allegedly oversaw the transportation of the heroin from Laredo to San Antonio, for further distribution by TMM members.
The second indictment, also returned on October 5, 2011, charges Teresa Alonzo (aka “Tia”) with a conspiracy to distribute heroin, between December 1, 2009 and July 20, 2011. Upon conviction, she faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
In June 2011, Alonzo allegedly attempted to smuggle an ounce of heroin to TMM Vice President Benito Alonzo, while he was incarcerated in the Texas Department of Corrections. Also as part of the distribution conspiracy, Alonzo is accused of having accepted thousands of dollars as repayment to Benito Alonzo for monies loaned to purchase heroin.
A federal search warrant executed at her residence in August 2011 resulted in the seizure of notebooks containing names and telephone numbers of TMM members, and correspondence from Benito Alonzo.
This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force together with the Texas Department of Public Safety – Criminal Investigations Division.