Texas Syndicate

Texas Syndicate

The Texas Syndicate is one of Texas’s most established prison gangs. The highly organized criminal enterprise was founded in 1970 by Juan “Pajaro” Solis-Vela and Francisco “Panchito” Gonzales in California’s Folsom prison. Vela, who was once a member of a downtown El Paso street gang called the “T-Birds” and Gonzales who was originally from the Rio Grande Valley organized the gang as a form of protection from California’s violent Mexican Mafia and Nuestra Familia. The Texas Syndicate remained small in California but grew into Texas after members returned to the Lone Star state after serving their time in California. This deadly gang profits off intense drug trafficking, robbery, extortion and gangland executions.




Symbols: TS, Tejanos, Texas symbols, long horns, demons, horned dragons, cuernos and syndicatos.

Ranking structure: Paramilitary/Buisness

Territory: Houston, Dallas, Austin, Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Rio Grande Valley and other Texas towns and cities.

Alliances: none

Members: 14,000

Racial make up: Hispanic

Threat: High





The TS began recruiting new members at the Ellis state prison in Huntsville, Texas in 1973. The Texas Syndicate then declared war on all of TDC’s inmate building tenders, also known as “turn keys”.  These “turn keys” were despised by the inmate majority due to favoritism they received from TDC staff. Building tenders were hand picked by guards to help keep gangs in check. The reforms intended to improve prison life only made prison worse. Gangs such as the Texas Syndicate began jocking for power and prison became a war zone.






The Texas Syndicate began extorting and even raping weaker inmates. Many prison offenders grew to hate the TS and with that resentment formed the birth of a new prison gang called the Mexikanemi in 1983.  The Mexikanemi grew rapidly and a war erupted between both prison gangs. The Texas Syndicate had under estimated the power of the Mexikanemi and as a result of this war; over 50 members on both sides were murdered.





Former TS Chairman, Antonio Riojas left the Texas Syndicate after members of the gang began raping weaker inmates. Riojas began serving a 40 year sentence in a Texas prison in 1979 for aggravated Robbery and joined the TS soon after. In a televised interview with the History channel, Riojas revealed detail information of the structure of the Texas Syndicate. “The Texas Syndicate was looking for members who could hold their weight and keep their mouths shut” said Riojas in the interview. “They were very selective of who they brought in”. he said.





The Texas Syndicate is controlled by a president and vice president who are elected by the vote of the gang’s majority. In the prison system level, the gang is ruled by a chairman who orders the vice chairman, captain, lieutenant, sergeant, and soldiers. The Texas Syndicate also has a Board of Directors whose duty is to monitor the gang’s funds, approve of new members and authorize war. Joining the gang is a life time commitment and all members are required to produce money for the gang.





In 1970, The Texas Syndicate is founded by Juan “Pajaro” Solis-Vela and Francisco “Panchito” Gonzales in California’s Folsom prison. (Gang Intelligence 101)




In 1980, the Texas Syndicate gain full control of the prison systems drug trade after the practice of using building tenders to assist guards is ruled out by a Civil court. (Gang Intelligence 101)




In 1982 the Texas Syndicate grows into Texas prisons after members return to the Lone Star state after serving their time in California. (Gang Intelligence 101)




On July 13, 1983,Texas Syndicate members Raymond DeLeon Martinez and Antonio Riojas enter the Long Branch Saloon in Houston, Texas with intentions of armed robbery. Offenders lock the bars door and then pull guns and shoot bar owner Herman Chavis multiple times, killing him. Another employee is also shot. (RAYMOND DELEON MARTINEZ v. THE STATE OF TEXAS – No. AP-76,140)




In 1984, the Texas Syndicate declare war on the Mexikanemi. Over 50 members of both sides are killed in prisons across Texas. (Gang Intelligence 101)




In 1986, Texas Syndicate members brutally murder 3 Mexikanemi gang members in the Darrington Unit in Rosharon, Texas. The day would be labeled “Bloody Sunday. (Gang Intelligence 101)




In 1986, Texas Syndicate member Rogelio Hernandez murders Officer Jose Herrera during an attempted escape from the Webb County Jail. (Hernandez v. Johnson, 108 F.3d 554 (C.A.5 (Tex.), 1997)




In 1990, the Mexikanemi and Texas Syndicate agree on a truce. (Gang Intelligence 101)




In 1990, Texas Syndicate members murder two Houston-area parolees, Anthony Rosalio Acosta, 42, and Jimmy Lopez Rangel, 29, in a desert southeast of El Paso. (Associated Press)




In 1993, members of the Barrio Azteca brutally beat and murder a Texas Syndicate member in the El Paso County Jail causing a bloody statewide war between both gangs. The victim is killed instantly after his head is slammed through jail bars. (El Paso Times)




In 1994, Barrio Azteca members murder a Texas Syndicate member at the Wallace unit in Colorado City, Texas. (Associated Press)




In 1994, the Texas Syndicate and the Raza Unida prison gang agree that both organizations would share the drug trade in Brownsville by dividing gang territory in the border town in sections. The agreement is short lived. (Gang Intelligence 101)


In 1995, the Texas Syndicate declares war on a Mexican gang known as Mexicles. (Gang Intelligence 101)




In June of 1997, the Texas Syndicate and Mexicles gang settle on a truce. (Gang Intelligence 101)




In 1997, armed Texas Syndicate members raid an El Paso bar known as La Cumbala and murder 4 people. The murder involved a cocaine deal gone badly. (El Paso Times)




On August 17, 1997, Texas Syndicate members murder Gerardo Garcia in the El Paso County Jail. The victim, who was also a TS member was wrestled down and intentionally overdosed with of a heroin. High ranking Texas Syndicate member Ricardo “Serrucho” Ortiz is given the death penalty for his involvement of the crime. (Ortiz v. State, 93 S.W.3d 79 (Tex. Crim. App., 2002)




On June of 1997 Texas Syndicate and Barrio Azteca settle a truce and sign a peace agreement called the “Manifesto”. The gangs agree to revise the manifesto each year on May 5th. (Gang Intelligence 101)




In 2001, Texas Syndicate member’s murder ex member Hector Camacho in the Rio Grande Valley for his efforts in starting an offshoot TS chapter called “Tejano Syndicato Originales” (Sierra v. State, No. 01-07-00443-CR (Tex. App. 8/21/2008) (Tex. App., 2008)




On July 2, 2001, Texas Syndicate members murder female TS associate Jove Rios for conducting business with the Mexikanemi. The gang felt that the mother of 3 had crossed the line and ordered TS member Magnaleno Medina to kidnap and murder her. (Associates Press)




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)

In mid 2002, the Texas Syndicate declares war on the Tango Blast prison gang. (Gang Intelligence 101)




On October 13, 2002, Texas Syndicate gang members shoot and kill 43-year-old Rogelio Mata in Uvalde, Texas. (FBI Press Release)




In April 2002, members of the Texas Syndicate murder a Tango Blast member at the J.B. Connally state prison. (Gang Intelligence 101)




In 2004, The Raza Unida and Texas Syndicate settle on a truce. (Gang Intelligence 101)





On December 25, 2005, Texas Syndicate gang members shoot and kill 34-year-old Jose Guadalupe De La Garza in Uvalde, Texas. (FBI Press Release)


On Dec. 21, 2006, Texas Syndicate members are arrested for the contract killing of Julio A. Serrano. The murder came as a result of the Gulf Cartel hiring the Texas Syndicate to kidnap Serrano from his home in Texas and take him to cartel members in Mexico. (Associated Press)




On FEBRUARY 12, 2007 17 Houston area Texas Syndicate members are charged for several area murders, racketeering, armed robberies and drug trafficking. (Houston Chronicle)




In July 2007, Texas Syndicate members murder Marcelino “Mars” Rodriguez Torres in Mc Allen, Texas after the gang suspects Rodriguez is a police informant.




On February 2007, high ranking Texas Syndicate member Ernesto Medrano is sentenced to life in prison for using U.S. military flights to transport hundreds of kilos of cocaine from Columbia to Fort, Bliss Texas. (El Paso Times)




In 2007, 23 Texas Syndicate members are arrested in cities all over the state of Texas on drug trafficking charges. (Associated Press)




In June 2008, Texas Syndicate member Emanuel Camacho Gomez fatally guns down 27-year-old Rose Anne Martinez in San Antonio, Texas. (Associated Press)




In July 2007, police find the burned body of a Marcelino “Mars” Torres in Hidalgo County. Torres was a Texas Syndicate informant who provided information crucial to a federal case against fellow gang members. (Associated Press)




In June 2008, Texas Syndicate member Emanuel Camacho Gomez fatally guns down 27-year-old Rose Anne Martinez in San Antonio, Texas. (Associated Press)




On July 2008 Texas Syndicate members shoot and kill ex-Texas Syndicate members George Escobedo, 59, and George Davenport in San Antonio, Texas. (San Antonio Express News)




On January 2009, 10 Texas Syndicate members invade the home of an Austin couple and rob the family of their TV’s wallets, and vehicles. (Associated Press)





On Jan 29, 2009, high ranking Texas Syndicate member Ricardo Ortiz is executed by the state of Texas for his role in a 1997 murder. (Associated Press)




On November 9, 2009, TS members shoot and kill 36-year-old Jesse James Polanco in Uvalde, Texas. (FBI Press Release)




On October 04, 2011, 23 Hondo and Uvalde, Texas Syndicate gang members, including Bandera County Sheriff’s Deputy, Thomas Cuellar are arrested for cocaine distribution. (FBI Press Release)




On December 9, 2011, 18 members of the Texas Syndicate are indicted on federal racketeering charges and murder in San Antonio, Texas. (San Antonio Express News)





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