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Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Texas Syndicate's Valley head gets 20 years; 5 fellow gang members also sentenced


Six members of the Texas Syndicate prison gang — including its Rio Grande Valley leader — were sentenced to serve time in federal prison for several charges including racketeering, kidnapping and drug charges. Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa on Monday sentenced 40-year-old Jose Ismael Salas, the gang’s regional head, to 20 years in prison for drug and racketeering offenses, court records show. Salas originally pleaded guilty April 2, 2009, to two separate charges of possession with intent to distribute 6 kilograms of cocaine on Aug. 12, 2004, and a similar charge for 39 kilograms of marijuana on March 28, 2003. The charge alleged that the intent of the possession of the drugs was to further the goals of the criminal organization. Among the five other Texas Syndicate members who were sentenced was Fidel Valle, 45, who received a sentence of 10 years and six months in prison. Valle was described as the drug supplier for the organization. He entered a guilty plea July 28, 2009, to the charge of possession with intent to distribute 6 kilograms of cocaine. Court records show that Aug. 12, 2004, after speaking with Salas, Valle tried to sell the cocaine to other Texas Syndicate members but was stopped by authorities during a traffic stop. Also sentenced was Romeo Rosales, 41, who received 12 years and seven months in prison for the kidnapping of Amancio Pinales, who was abducted and eventually gunned down in Mexico on Aug. 12, 2004. Noel De Los Santos, 33, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the March 20, 2003, murder of fellow gang member Crisantos Moran. According to information released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Moran had been ordered to kill a rival gang member from Peñitas, but after arriving there with De Los Santos and another member named Jose Armando Garcia, he failed to carry out the killing and was slain instead. Earlier this year, Garcia was given a life sentence. Two other Syndicate members were sentenced for a separate murder connected to the organization. Cristobal Hernandez, 31, and Arturo Rodriguez were sentenced to 10 and 20 years, respectively, for the murder of Marcelino Rodriguez in June 2007. The two men had aided a third man known as Raul Galindo, who shot Rodriguez in the back of the head. The two men then set the vehicle containing his body on fire. Rodriguez had been named in a sealed court document that had been provided to them by an employee at a law firm that was defending Rodriguez. The Texas Syndicate had sanctioned the death of Rodriguez.


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