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Press Release

Ranking gang member sentenced for drug trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

VICTORIA, Texas – A ranking member of the Texas Chicano Brotherhood (TxCB) has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction of conspiracy to possess and distribution of more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Rafael Diaz, 31, Rio Grande City, pleaded guilty Feb. 4, 2019.

Today, Senior U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey handed Diaz 145-month sentence to be immediately followed by five years of supervised release.

The TxCB is a violent criminal organization operating primarily in Starr County and Hidalgo Counties. Members have been involved in numerous crimes to include drug, firearms and human trafficking; kidnappings; home invasions; aggravated assaults; murders and other major crimes.

As a result, law enforcement launched a multi-agency investigation in May 2016. The investigation resulted in the identification of at least 70 members and criminal associates of the TxCB to include their leadership.

Authorities had identified Diaz and other TxCB members as part of a “rip crew.” The crew used force and intimidation to steal marijuana from drug smugglers and traffickers along the Rio Grande Valley area and re-sell it at discounted prices.

The investigation involved the smuggling and distribution of at least 1,000 kilograms of marijuana between February 2017 and February 2018. During that time, Diaz and other TxCB members were responsible for smuggling and/or stealing multiple loads of marijuana in and around Rio Grande City. Law enforcement interdicted at least five loads linked to Diaz and other members of the TxCB.

Diaz will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prison facility to be determined in the near future.

The Texas Department of Public Safety conducted the investigation along with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; District Attorney’s Offices in Starr and Hidalgo Counties; and the Texas Attorney General’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patti Hubert Booth and David Paxton prosecuted the case. 

Updated January 8, 2020

Drug Trafficking