Raza Unida (RU) originated in 1988 in the Texas prison system during a time when The Texas Department of Corrections was experiencing an alarming wave of twisted prison violence. Two powerful Hispanic prison gangs, the Texas Syndicate and its sworn rival the Mexikanemi, were killing each other in prison units state wide. This shamed and frustrated many non-affiliated Mexican American inmates who were tired of seeing 'Cain kill Abel'. Raza Unida was born and set out to show other races that La Raza was in fact united. As with all race-based prison gangs, it wouldn't be long before the 'United Race' would become an enemy of its own Hispanic race.

Note: Raza Unida is a confirmed TDCJ Security Threat Group and international criminal enterprise and should not be confused with La Raza Unida Hispanic civil rights activist group.


Symbols: RU, Eagle with both Mexican and American flags.
Ranking structure: Paramilitary

Gang Capital: Corpus Christi, Texas
Chapters: Corpus Christi, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Rio Grande Valley.
Alliances: none
Members: 7,000
Racial make up: Hispanic
Threat: High



Raza Unida, which means 'United Race' in English first began promising its new prospects unity, respect and a cultural sense of pride. The gang set out to 'unify', or recruit as many new 'carnales' or brothers as possible. The organization grew rapidly and claimed Corpus Christi, Texas as its capital, then spread into other Texas cities such as San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and the Rio Grande Valley. The prison gang incorporated in their patch, or logo two national flags, one Mexican and the other American. Set in the center of both flags was the image of a brown eagle.




The gangs power of unity would eventually become corrupted by greed. With the gangs swift expansion came a majority of young new members who were violent and undisciplined. Raza Unida was not what it promised to be. Just like every race based prison gang, the Raza Unida had transformed into a cancer and an enemy to its own people. The gang had grown to become a paramilitary group of murderers, extortionists, narcotic dealers, and drug addicted thieves.


Soon after the birth of Raza Unida, conflict arose after one of the gangs recently recruited members was stabbed to death by a rival prison gang called the Barrio Azteca. Just as the Raza Unida was about to retaliate, high ranking members of the Barrio Azteca requested an immediate 'hold fire' and proved that their murder victim had in fact been an ex-prospect of the Barrio Azteca. Under the constitution of most prison gangs, all non-member prospects and associates of either gang must first ask to be excused of any obligations before withdrawing from the gang. If granted the withdrawing offender must vow to keep all information knows about the gang confidential. The murder victim not only failed to ask the Barrio Azteca to be excused, but he also failed to reveal his past with the Raza Unida before becoming their prospect.



Following its primary years, the Raza Unida set out to gain the respect of the states "Big 2”, the violent Mexikanemi and the deadly Texas Syndicate who had now ordered a truce on each other. In 1992 members of the Mexikanemi attacked and killed 3 Raza Unida inmates at the Coffield state prison. A brief state wide gang war between both organizations erupted and was settled with a 'hold-fire', or unofficial truce. Both the Raza Unida and Mexikanemi drew their lines and both kept their distance but remained bitter about one another.



South Texas consists of an octagon of small county's and major cities that are clogged with competition between the regions 4 gang majorities, the Raza Unida, Mexikanemi, Texas Syndicate and HPL (Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos). Mysterious gang murders are common with members of each gang secretly killing each other in the streets. The 4 prison gangs maintain an unreliable and almost transparent truce and walk on egg shells as they scour the drug trade of south Texas like vultures.


Unfortunately for the Raza Unida the gangs power did not last long. The organization experienced a serious power struggle between high ranking leaders and in 1997 the gang split into two different factions. One faction remained Raza Unida while the other called itself "Raza Unida Surenos" The split caused a major loss of morale for many of the gangs original members and many left the gang.



In 2001 the Raza Unida began transporting narcotics from the bordertown of Brownsville, TX to Dallas and Houston. The Texas Syndicate, which controlled most of the drug trade in those cities, didn't want competition and began ordering random hits on Raza Unida dealers.
In late of March 2002, a members of the Raza Unida retaliated by stabbing and killing a member of the Texas Syndicate at the Polunsky Unit in Livinston, Texas. Statewide prison lockdowns were ordered by prison officials and many suspected Texas Syndicate and Raza Unida members and affiliates were segregated in order to prevent a prison disaster.
Violence erupted in flurry's from one prison unit to the next before spilling into the streets of Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston.



Although hit by several recent federal (RICO) indictments, the gang still operates in and out of the Texas prison system. The prison gang is about a quarter of the size it was during its boom of the late 1980's and early 1990's.




In 1988, The Raza Unida (RU) is formed in the Texas state prison system. (TDCJ Security Threat Group Archives)

In 1992 the Mexikanemi instigated a brief war with the weaker Raza Unida. Three members of the Raza Unida were killed in an attack from the Mexikanemi at the Coffield state prison. (TDCJ Security Threat Group Archives)


In 1994, the Texas Syndicate and the Raza Unida agree that the gangs would share the drug trade in Brownsville by dividing gang territory in the border town in sections. (TDCJ Security Threat Group Archives)

In 1997, the HPL declares war on the Raza Unida after RU members refuse to allow the HPL to recruit new members at a south Texas transfer facility. (TDCJ Security Threat Group Archives)


On August 10, 1998, Raza Unida members brutally murder fellow gang member Luis "Huicho" Luna in Corpus Christi, Texas for breaking gang rules. After murdering Luna, RU members reportedly burned a stolen car used to transport the body. Jesse "Trece" Casso ("Casso"), Jeremy Munguia ("Munguia"), Rudy "Rhino" Contreras ("Contreras") and Jason "Chino Boy" Luna ("Jason"), all members of the "Raza Unida" gang, are arrested and charged with Capital Murder. Hernandez v. State, 52 S.W.3d 268 (Tex.App.-Corpus Christi, 2001) June 21, 2001

In 1999, the HPL and Raza Unida both settle a truce after 1 year of fighting. (TDCJ Security Threat Group Archives)


In May 1999, the Mexikanemi declares war on the Raza Unida over a conflict involving drugs in the streets of Corpus Christi, Texas. A member of the Raza Unida is brutally murdered at the Connally unit in Kenedy, Texas by Mexikanemi members. (TDCJ Security Threat Group Archives)


 In August 1999, 21 members of the Mexikanemi attacked six members of the Raza Unida at the Domingez state prison in San Antonio, Texas. (San Antonio Express News, August 11, 1999.)


In January 2000, both the Mexikanemi and Raza Unida settle on a truce after 1 year of war fare. (TDCJ Security Threat Group Archives)


In March 2002, Raza Unida members stab a Texas Syndicate member to death at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas. The murder involves a state wide war between both prison gangs. (TDCJ Security Threat Group Archives)

On November 12, 2002 Raza Unida members murder Jesus Gonzalez and John Commisky for refusing to pay the prison gang 10% of their cocaine profits. The killers, whose faces were covered with black ski masks, reportedly entered the home of the victims and gunned them down with AK-47 assault rifles. Padron v. State, No. 13-06-00464-CR (Tex. App. 8/14/2008) (Tex. App., 2008)


On January 2003, the Raza Unida declares war on the HPL over drug related conflicts. (TDCJ Security Threat Group Archives)


On November 24, 2003, HPL members recklessly murder 6 year old Robert Conchola by shooting the child in the face. The victim’s father was a known member of the Raza Unida prison gang and involved in a drug dispute with the HPL. Loya v. State, No. 13-04-00537-CR (Tex. App. 7/6/2006) (Tex. App., 2006)


On December 6, 2003, Raza Unida members murder rival HPL member Michael Rodriguez on a desolate dirt road. Rodriguez had died from numerous gunshot wounds to the head, abdomen, and extremities. The murder involved a gang war between the Raza Unida and Hermandad de Pistoleros Latinos. Salazar v. State, No. 13-06-00075-CR (Tex. App. 4/10/2008) (Tex. App., 2008)


On December 6, 2003, Raza Unida members murder rival HPL member Michael Rodriguez on a desolate dirt road. Rodriguez had died from numerous gunshot wounds to the head, abdomen, and extremities. The murder involved a gang war between the Raza Unida and Hermandad de Pistoleros Latinos.Salazar v. State, No. 13-06-00075-CR (Tex. App. 4/10/2008) (Tex. App., 2008)


In 2004, The Raza Unida and Texas Syndicate settle on a truce. (TDCJ Security Threat Group Archives)


In May 2005, The Raza Unida and HPL settle on a peace treaty. (TDCJ Security Threat Group Archives)
On August 23, 2006, Raza Unida members murder Paul Dembowski in Corpus Christi, Texas over a conflict involving a drug deal. (Simpson v. State, No. 13-07-00489-CR (Tex. App. 8/21/2008) (Tex. App., 2008)


On September 19, 2006, 6 Raza Unida members use shanks to over power guards and escapes from the East Hidalgo Detention Center, La Villa, Texas. (Houston Chronicle)


On September 21, 2011, Raza Unida gang leader Rudy Rodriguez, 31, of Corpus Christi, is sentenced 27 years in prison for drug distribution and for conspiracy to murder.(News Release U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE)


On Feb. 17, 2012, Raza Unida gang member Oscar Trevino 39, is beaten and shot in the head by Valluco gang members Alfredo Cisneros, 37, Arturo Zavala Cuellar Jr., 24, Rey Reyes, 28, and Justin Trejo, 28 in Alamo, Texas. The 9mm assault rifle used in the killing had been missing from the Pharr Police Department armory since 2008. VICTIM AND SUSPECT PHOTOS (Associated Press)




BARRIO AZTECA - The Azteca use codes so deciphering gang messages is difficult for gang intelligence.

BORDER BROTHERS - The gang made bitter enemies with the Mara Salvatrucha &other prison gangs..

HPL - HERMANDAD DE PISTOLEROS LATINOS - Translates to "Brotherhood of the Latin Gunman"

INDIAN POSSE - The Indian Posse are involved in cocaine and marijuana dealing, boot legging & murder.

LATIN KINGS - The Latin Kings originated in the streets in Chicago in the 1943...........................................

LOS SOLIDOS - Los Solidos gang was founded in 1990 by ruthless Puerto Rican street thugs .....................

MEXICAN MAFIA - The Mexican Mafia is commonly confused with the Texas based Mexikanemi............

MEXIKANEMI - Texas Mexican Mafia - There is an estimated 17,000 Mexikanemi members....................

MEXICLES - Typical of all prison gangs, the PRM transformed from prey to predator in no time.................

MS-13 - MARA SALVATRUCHA - In 1980, The MS 13 was founded by El Salvadorian criminals...............

MANITOBA WARRIORS - The Manitoba Warriors met its first rival, the Indian Posse prison gang...........

NATIVE SYNDICATE - The NS made immediate enemies with other violent Native American cliques.........

TEXAS SYNDICATE - The Texas Syndicate is one of Texas’s most established prison gangs.......................

NEW MEXICO SYNDICATE - The prison gang spread into the New Mexico prison system in 1980............

NETAS - The gang was responsible for causing over 50 deaths in several Puerto Rico prison riots...............

NORTHERN STRUCTURE - NS consists of united gang members from northern California gangs............

NUESTRA FAMILIA - The bones of La Nuestra Familia (NF) originated in September 1967.......................

PRM - PARTIDO REVOLUCIONARIO MEXICANO - The gang began recruiting Texas inmates............

TANGO BLAST - This Texas based prison gang emerged in the Texas prison system in 1990......................

TEXAS CHICANO BROTHERHOOD - Texas prison gangs refused to allow the TCB to recruit.................

TRI CITY BOMBERS - Paroled members of the TCB adopted the highly organized structure.....................

WEST TEXAS TANGO - The WT is currently involved in extortion and drug dealing in prison....................



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