Texas Mexican Mafia Member Sentenced to 35 Years in Federal Prison
In San Antonio this afternoon, a federal judge sentenced 51-year-old Texas Mexican Mafia member Robert Eugene Hernandez (aka “Gino”) to 35 years in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to extort money from drug traffickers operating in their territory without permission, announced U.S. Attorney John Bash and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez ordered that Hernandez pay a $5,000 fine and be placed on supervised release for a period of five years after completing his prison term.
On July 2, 2019, a federal jury convicted Hernandez of one count of interference with Commerce by threats or extortion, one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and heroin, one count of conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, one substantive count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and one count of prohibited person in possession of a firearm.
According to court records, Hernandez, a San Antonio Eastside Lieutenant, carried out his duties under the direction of Raul Ramos, Texas Mexican Mafia (TMM) Free World General based in San Antonio. The TMM leadership controls and directs collection of the drug tax. All members who participate in the collection of the tax, and the leaders who direct them, understand and agree that drug dealers are not permitted to sell drugs without paying the tax. Dealers have no choice; payment of the tax is mandatory and this rule is enforced through violence.
Once a drug dealer is identified, this information is passed up to the leadership. The leadership will make an effort to confirm this information, usually through a purchase from the drug dealer. If the information is confirmed, TMM soldiers are instructed to visit the drug dealer. If the dealer denies dealing in TMM territory without permission he is ordered to pay more. If the dealer refuses, he usually is robbed and beaten immediately. If the first visit does not convince the dealer to comply, the second visit will be a “door kick.” The front door is kicked in, armed gang members storm the home, all occupants are beaten and sometimes tied up, and anything of value is taken such as narcotics, jewelry, electronics, guns, and automobiles. After a “door kick,” all dealers begin paying the tax.
This prosecution has resulted in 37 convictions of members and associates of the Texas Mexican Mafia; 27 of which have resulted in sentences ranging from 63 months to life in federal prison. Ten defendants are awaiting sentencing.
This federal prosecution stems from an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation conducted by the FBI, New Braunfels Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety and the San Antonio Police Department. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) assisted in this investigation.
The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking operations, weapons trafficking operations, money laundering operations, violent street gangs and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.