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Thread: The state of Texas gangs: Highlights from the 2015 Texas Gang Threat Assessment

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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Heart of Dixie

    The state of Texas gangs: Highlights from the 2015 Texas Gang Threat Assessment

    The state of Texas gangs: Highlights from the 2015 Texas Gang Threat Assessment

    By John Boyd
    Published 5:38 pm, Monday, August 31, 2015
    Bulletpoints: The State of Texas Gangs

    The Department of Public Safety has released its 2015 Texas Gang Threat Assessment report. These are the most important take-aways, which help explain much of the organized gang activity in Texas.

    IMAGE 1 OF 23

    Waco may have been the Cossacks coming out party. The motorcycle gang has roots going back to the 1960s, but only debuted on the DPS's Texas Gang Threat Assessment in 2015 after a deadly clash with the Bandidos Motorcycle Club in Waco on May 17 that left nine people dead.

    Among Tier 1 gangs, Tango Blast is still the No. 1 gang in Texas, with an estimated 15,000 members statewide. Texas Mexican Mafia comes in a distant second with 4,700 members, followed by the Texas Syndicate (3,400 members), Latin Kings (2,100 members) and MS-13 (800 members).
    The Tango blast clique is growing quickly in prisons in part because of loose restrictions compared to other gang affiliations. According to DPS, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice does not consider Tango Blast a "security threat group (STG)," so jailed members are housed in general population, rather than being segregated. The improved treatment leads to increased in-jail recruitment, according to the DPS.
    Tango Blast has grown by finally spreading from the 'Four Horsemen' cities – Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin – to West and South Texas. The cliques in the Rio Grande Valley and West Texas now rival the original four cliques in membership.
    There may be no slowing down the growth of Tango Blast.
    Because the gang does not require "blood-in, blood-out" membership, new members are more easily recruited. And due to a lack or hierarchy and by-laws, sub-cliques are more easily established and grown. Members of other gangs also are increasingly joining Tango Blast in prison if a void of their own gang is present.Texas gangs are leveraging strong ties with Mexican cartels to smuggle people into Texas illegally. The relationships between gangs and cartels are constant, but show no particular loyalties or allegiances. Tango Blast, Texas Syndicate, Bloods, Crips, Gangster Disciples and MS-13 all were identified as active in human smuggling operations in 2014.
    The feuds between gangs are dying as more gangs look to collaborate for profit. Members of law enforcement also are increasingly seeing gang members with memberships in multiple organizations, presenting a challenge in investigating gang hierarchies.MS-13 is being fed by new members crossing into Texas illegally. The number of encounters between MS-13 members and border law enforcement has grown each year since 2011.


    A newly released report shows an evolving gang landscape in Texas highlighted by fewer feuds and more synergy, leading to more influence, more cash and more crime.

    The Department of Public Safety's annual Texas Gang Threat Assessment again lists Tango Blast as the state's most predominant gang, boasting 15,000 members statewide. The gang's growth from prison protection group to major player in gang activity on both sides of the bars was assisted by a loose organizational structure that allowed new cliques to more easily form as well as members of other gangs to more easily join.

    Now, seemingly other Texas gangs are taking a cue from Tango Blast, feuding less and working together more for mutual profit.

    One of the primary benefactors of the gangs laissez-faire approach are the Mexican cartels, who are finding new partnerships for smuggling drugs, guns and especially humans across the border and into Texas. Many of those smuggled into Texas are being funneled directly into gangs to increase membership.

    Despite the high-profile May clash between Bandidos and Cossacks at a Twin Peaks in Waco, the top Tier 1 Threat level gangs in the DPS report are exclusively traditionally Latino prison and street gangs. However, after more than 50 years in existence, the Cossacks finally made their first appearance in the Texas Gang Threat Assessment.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    From 2013.

    Texas' biggest gang gains foothold in El Paso

    By Daniel Borunda \ El Paso Times
    POSTED: 04/08/2013 12:00:00 AM MDT

    A prison gang once described by Texas authorities as being "near fad status" is now considered the state's biggest gang threat as it has spread to several cities, including El Paso, according to a new report.

    The Tango Blast gang has an estimated 10,000 members statewide and has surpassed the Texas Mexican Mafia as the biggest gang threat in the state, according to the Texas Gang Threat Assessment report released last week by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

    Tango Blast is a new generation gang made up of loosely organized cliques from different parts of the state. Tango cliques take their name from their hometown's nickname.

    The DPS report considers Tango Blast a threat because of the gang's rapid growth, increased criminal activity by members outside of prison, and the potential link of some Tango groups to Mexican drug cartels.

    "We do have Tango Blast people here," said Darrel Petry, an El Paso police spokesman. "Our Gang Unit first started to pick up on them here in 2006. It is mainly found inside (jails and prisons). Our Gang Unit considers them to be active."

    The Tango clique from El Paso is known as EPT and is small compared with the El Paso-based Barrio Azteca gang, which continues to be the largest gang in the area. There is also a regional Tango group known as West Texas or WTX.

    Gang intelligence officials with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office said there are about 200 members of Tango Blast in El Paso County, with about half of them in jail, state prison or half-way houses.

    Sheriff's officials said local Tangos tend to leave the gang after being released from prison. They said there is no known formal organization of the gang on El Paso streets.

    Law enforcement officers said Tango Blast was initially created in the 1990s for self-protection from other prison gangs.

    The name Tango reportedly comes from a Spanish slang term for "hometown." Tango Blast refers to members that are heavily involved in criminal activity, or "blasting" rivals.

    "The Tangos are one of the fastest growing groups in Texas, both within the prison system and on the streets, and are attaining near fad status," stated a Texas Department of Public Safety law-enforcement report on gangs in 2007.

    The growth of the Tangos has been fueled in part because the gang has more relaxed standards than traditional prison gangs.
    Tangos do not have a "blood in, blood out" philosophy where members must attack a rival to gain membership. There is no lifetime commitment. And there is no top-down paramilitary hierarchy found in gangs such as the Texas Syndicate and Barrio Azteca.

    Some Tango members leave the group when they leave prison. Others continue with criminal activity.

    DPS reported that the gang is involved in crimes such as drug dealing, home invasions, immigrant smuggling and murders.

    In prison, Tangos have an elected "spokesman" for each institution. Outside of prison, the gang operates in small cells and is loosely organized with separate groups throughout the state, authorities said.

    The original Tango groups -- known as the Four Horsemen for the four cities from which they originated -- were Houstone (Houston), D-Town (Dallas), Foritos (Fort Worth) and ATX or "Capirucha" (the capital) in Austin, according to DPS reports.
    "The Houston area Tango Blast clique, the Houstone, is the largest gang in Houston and the surrounding areas," the gang-threat report stated.

    Tangos often use tattoos of their city's skyline, telephone area code or the logos of local sports teams (for example, the Houston Astros' star) but not everyone with such tattoos is a gang member.

    Members from El Paso -- sometimes referred to as "Chucos" -- sport tattoos of "EPT" and "915," referring to their city's area code.

    DPS reported that the growth of the Tango Blast has brought the gang into conflict and alliances with older established gangs.

    "One of the gangs to have emerged most recently as a considerable threat is Tango Blast, whose Orejones branch has often been in conflict with the Texas Mexican Mafia in San Antonio, while many other areas seem to interact and even cooperate with each other for mutual gain," the gang-threat report stated.

    "Both the Vallucos and Houstone cliques of Tango Blast continue to have their own relationships with various Mexican cartels as well as with various other street and prison gangs," the report stated.

    The DPS report classified gangs on a tier system, with gangs posing the greatest threat designated as Tier 1. Tango Blast, Texas Syndicate, Barrio Azteca and Texas Mexican Mafia are in Tier 1.

    The Barrio Azteca -- with an estimated 3,500 members -- continues to be the greatest gang threat in West Texas because of the gang's ability to operate on both sides of the border and its strong ties to Mexican drug cartels, according to the report.
    The DPS also reported that Aztecas have expanded their reach outside prisons to other parts of Texas.

    In August, a multi-agency investigation led to the arrest of 30 people in connection to a drug-trafficking ring allegedly run by Barrio Azteca members in Wichita Falls, Texas, according to the DPS report.

    Wichita Falls is a small North Texas city close to Oklahoma nearly 600 miles from the Barrio Azteca stronghold on the El Paso-Juárez border.

    Daniel Borunda may be reached at; 546-6102. Follow him on Twitter @BorundaDaniel

    Other gangs

    Other major gangs in Texas:

    Texas Syndicate:"Estimated 4,500 members. One of the state's oldest prison gangs. Founded more than 40 years ago by inmates from Texas in California prisons.

    Texas Mexican Mafia:"Estimated 6,000 members. The Texas Mexican Mafia remains one of the state's most powerful gangs, but according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, has been weakened in recent years by law enforcement efforts targeting gang leaders, members and associates.

    Aryan Brotherhood of Texas:"A white supremacist gang that has been the topic of recent publicity due to speculation about the gang's potential link to the killing of prosecutors near Dallas. The gang does not have a significant presence in the border region.

    Partido Revolucionario Mexicano (PRM):"A gang founded by Mexicans imprisoned in Texas. The gang operates on both sides of the border and has strong links to Mexican drug cartels. DPS considers the gang a growing problem "based in part on the level of threat that it poses to law enforcement."

    Source: Texas Gang Threat Assessment 2012.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    So we count them, photograph them, imprison them, feed them, guard them and care for them. They need to be deported, we have to get these people out of here and keep them out. We need prompt low-cost deportation processing.
    Newmexican and GeorgiaPeach like this.
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