Federal Jury Convicts Texas Mexican Mafia Members in Connection with the Death of Balcones Heights Police Officer Julian Pesina
In San Antonio today, a federal jury convicted Texas Mexican Mafia (TMM) members Jesse Santibanez, age 29, and Alfredo Cardona, age 36, in connection with the death of Balcones Heights Police Officer Julian Pesina in 2014 announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr.; Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division; Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw; and, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.
The jury convicted both defendants of one count of murder in aid of racketeering and one count of discharging a firearm during a murder in aid of racketeering. Another TMM member, Ruben Reyes, previously pleaded guilty to similar charges that included this murder. A fourth TMM member, 37-year-old TMM member Jerry Idrogo pleaded guilty on August 11, 2016, to a racketeering conspiracy charge that included this murder.
Evidence presented during trial revealed that the defendants murdered Pesina on May 4, 2014, in front of his business, the Notorious Ink Tattoo and Piercing Studio, located on Hillcrest Drive.
Testimony during trial revealed that Pesina had claimed membership in the TMM, was selling narcotics and paying the “dime” (the 10% street tax) to the TMM, when the TMM learned that Pesina was a Balcones Heights Police Officer. On May 4, 2014, Idrogo contacted Pesina and arranged for pickup of the “dime” outside of Pesina’s tattoo shop. Just before meeting Pesina, Idrogo dropped off Santibanez and Cardona on the side of the building. Once Pesina walked up to the car and handed Idrogo the “dime” payment money, Santibanez and Cardona came around the corner and shot and killed Pesina.
Santibanez, Cardona and Idrogo all remain in federal custody. Santibanez and Cardona each face a minimum mandatory sentence of life in federal prison. They are scheduled to be formally sentenced on February 8, 2018, before United States District Judge Xavier Rodriguez. Sentencing for Idrogo is scheduled for 1:30pm on November 29, 2017, before Judge Rodriguez. Reyes was previously sentenced to five consecutive life-imprisonment terms.
The FBI together with the Texas Department of Public Safety, the San Antonio Police Department and the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office investigated this case.