Jim Kouri
August 22, 2011
La Raza Unida leader sentenced to life in prison for racketeering
By Jim Kouri

"We are not immigrants that came from another country to another country. We are migrants, free to travel the length and breadth of the Americas because we belong here. We are millions. We just have to survive. We have an aging white America. They are not making babies. They are dying. It's a matter of time. The explosion is in our population." — Jose Angel Gutierrez, founder and spokesman

La Raza Unida (The United Race) leader Johnny Joe Guerra faces spending the rest of his life in federal prison for drug trafficking while two other members of the La Raza Unida gang will be serving lengthy prison terms for committing violent crimes in aid of Racketeering (VICAR), according to law enforcement officials.

La Raza Unida (RU) is an organized prison gang that originated in 1988 in the southern Texas prison system. It's main ideology is the re-conquest of U.S. states such as Arizona, California and New Mexico.

La Raza Unida leader Johnny Joe Guerra, 33, Ricky Alejandro, 25, and Anthony Torres, 35, all U.S. Citizens and residents of Corpus Christi, Texas, were sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Janis Jack.

All three defendants pleaded guilty in June to various counts of the indictment in which they and 11 other members or associates of La Raza Unida were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of methamphetamine and various federal firearm violations.

The indictment alleged three violent crimes committed in Corpus Christi, Texas, by La Raza Unida gang members, including a home invasion in which a man was shot and two other shootings at Corpus Christi nightclubs.

Guerra was sentenced to life without parole for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Ricky Alejandro was sentenced to three concurrent sentences of 140 months for assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering to be followed by an 84-month consecutive sentence for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence for a total prison term of 181/2 years. Anthony Torres was sentenced to 57 months for assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering to be followed by a consecutive sentence of 120 months for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence for a total of 177 months incarceration.

All federal prison terms are without the benefit of parole.

The charges against these three defendants and the others charged some of which are pending trial and others pending sentencing are the result of an ongoing investigation dubbed Operation Prison Cell being conducted jointly by special agents of the Corpus Christi office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and officers of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice — Office of Inspector General and the Corpus Christi Police Department Gang and Organized Crime Units.

All three defendants have been in federal custody pending Friday's sentencing hearing and will remain in custody to serve their sentences.

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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