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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Texas

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Texas Mexican Mafia Members Sentenced to Life in Federal Prison for Role in 2014 Death of Balcones Heights Police Officer Julian Pesina

In San Antonio today, United States District Judge Xavier Rodriguez sentenced Texas Mexican Mafia (TMM) members Jesse Santibanez and Alfredo Cardona to life in federal prison for their roles in the murder of Balcones Heights Police Officer Julian Pesina in 2014, announced United States Attorney John F. Bash; FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division; Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw; and, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.

In November 6, 2017, a federal jury convicted Santibanez, age 30, and Cardona, age 37, of one count of murder in aid of racketeering and one count of discharging a firearm during a murder in aid of racketeering.  On November 9, 2017, Judge Rodriguez sentenced 38-year-old former TMM Sergeant Jerry Idrogo to 20 years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge that included Pesina’s murder.  Another TMM member, Ruben Reyes (aka “Menace”), pleaded guilty in July 2016 to similar charges that included this murder and four others.  Reyes is currently serving five consecutive life-imprisonment sentences.

Evidence presented during trial revealed that acting upon an order by Reyes, Santibanez and Cardona 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.

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.

Violent Crime
Updated August 15, 2018