|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2009)|
|Criminal activities||Drug trafficking, murder, prostitution, robbery, extortion, illegal gambling|
|Allies||Texas Mafia, Dirty White Boys Los Zetas|
|Rivals||Aryan Brotherhood, Mexican Mafia, Mexikanemi, Puro Tango Blast, Black Guerrilla Family, Vallucos|
The Texas Syndicate (Spanish: Syndicato Tejano) is a mostly Texas-based prison gang that includes Hispanic and at one time, White (non-Hispanic) members. The Texas Syndicate, unlike La Eme or Nuestra Familia, has been more associated or allied with Mexican immigrant prisoners, known as "border brothers", while La Eme and the NF tend to be more composed of US-born/raised Hispanics.
It was established in the 1970s at Folsom Prison in California in direct response to the other California prison gangs (notably the Aryan Brotherhood and Mexican Mafia), which were attempting to prey on native Texas inmates. Los Zetas cartel has been known to hire US gangs such as the Texas Syndicate and MS-13 to carry out contract killings.
As of 2000, some minority reports claim the Texas Syndicate had about 19,000 members in prisons and jails statewide with more on the outside. However, such numbers are often inflated and include inmates only marginally connected with the gang as well as ex-cons, most of whom do not remain actively involved. Around 8,126 Hispanic members operate across Texas, including specific reportings in the Coffield Unit, about 60 miles southwest of Tyler, and at the Allred prison unit outside of Wichita Falls. However, they still maintain their headquarters in California, where their national president resides, and their numbers continue to reach into state and federal prisons across the US. They have been reported in the Federal Correctional Institute at Oakdale, Louisiana and in San Quentin, California with frequency. There is some representation in the Florida Department of Corrections.
The organization at one time did allow non-Hispanic members to join, but reversed this policy in the 1980s.
Development of the Texas Syndicate was initially motivated by self-protection against the historical "building tenders" in prison. After building tenders disappeared due to a court order, the Syndicate's activities turned to drug trafficking, extortion, prostitution, protection, illegal gambling, and contract killing. Released or parole members who generate money for the Texas Syndicate must surrender a 10% tax ("the dime") of all proceeds toward the gang in prison.
Texas Syndicate members abide by a constitution requiring members to:
- Be a Texan
- Always remain a member
- Place the Texas Syndicate before anything else
- Understand that the Texas Syndicate is always in the right
- Wear the Texas Syndicate tattoo
- Never let a member down
- Respect other members
- Keep all gang information within the group
Additionally, gang leadership is determined by democratic elections, requiring a unanimous decision. Recruitment is conducted through social ties and involves a background check to screen for informants.
TS has a paramilitary structure, headed by a president and vice president elected by the general membership. Prison units are individually controlled by a local chairman and vice chairman. Beneath them in the gang hierarchy are captains, lieutenants, sergeants of arms, and numerous soldiers.
The history of the group and documented acts of violence in other jurisdictions warrant their certification as a Security Threat Group. Receipt of inmates on interstate compact and the current membership in groups with Hispanic and Latino supremacy ideology lend to the threat of an organizing TS within our facilities. The main activities of the TS are centered around drug trafficking, extortion, protection rackets, and internal discipline and contract murdering
- Hector Soto, a former local leader of the Austin-area Texas Syndicate in prison, sentenced for drug possession in 2000
- Robert Velez as the leader of the Syndicate's Austin operation
- Victor Barrera Morones, who kept a storehouse of weapons in Austin
- In 1989, Noe Beltran was a leader of the Texas Syndicate prison gang, promoted to captain at Ellis II Unit prison just north of Huntsville, Texas
- In 1983, Eliseo Martinez was alleged unit-leader of the Syndicate in prison at TDC's Ramsey I Unit, who was serving a 20 year sentence in the 80s for a prison-murder
- In 1994, Arnulfo Nino was leader in the federal prison at Fort Worth, Texas, convicted for possession of more than 800 pounds of cocaine, and distributing more than 80 pounds per week
- Frank de la Cruz, an alleged leader, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon in 2001 at the Federal Correctional Institute at Oakdale
- In 1991 Emilio Gonzalez was sentenced to 5 years for drug possession. He is a former captain since 1989 in Rio Grande City, Texas
- In 2001 Pablo "Bam Bam" Gonzalez one of the Syndicates ranking member's of the Dallas/Fort Worth area killed two members of Tango Blast "Hector Solis" & "Ruben Vargas" and is still sought by police today.
- In 2007 a top ranking syndicate Frank "Porkchop" Herrera Jr in Rio Grande Valley chapter was charged with aggravated robbery and burglary of habitation and serves his sentence in Coffield unit
Tattoos, symbols and identification
- A heart for an executioner used for ex military recruits
- A trident for an enforcer used for ex military recruits
- Three marks of a bird's footprint for a drug dealer
- Five marks of a bird's footprint for a weapons supplier
- Tattoo of an overlapping "TS", or an "S" superimposed over a "T"
- Slang terms: "Babydoll" refers to Mexican Mafia members
- "Charco" refers to Corpus Christi
- "Chuco" refers to El Paso
- "Space City" refers to Houston
- "Big D" refers to Dallas
- A Longhorn tattoo refers to the Fort Worth Area, as does any figure with horns
- "Prison Gangs (continued)". Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
- "Special Issue: Gangs in the United States", Narcotics Digest Weekly (National Drug Intelligence Center) 4 (40), 2005-10-04, retrieved 2009-11-14
- "Texas Syndicate: Prison Gang Profile". Insideprison.com. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
- Ruben Mosso, 'El MIlenio" “FBI: Los Zetas - problema de seguridad nacional para EU,” January 9, 2008
- Schiller, Dane. "First prison gang remains a force to fear." Houston Chronicle. January 4, 2011.