Jury convicts 6 gang members in El Paso

December 3, 2008 6:53:31 AM PST
Six members of the violent Barrio Azteca gang were convicted by a federal jury Tuesday on various charges, officials said. Suspected gang captains Carlos Perea, Manuel Cardoza and Benjamin Alvarez were convicted on all four counts they faced on racketeering and conspiracy charges, the El Paso Times reported Tuesday in its online edition.

Said Francisco Herrera was found guilty on four counts of conspiracy and engaging in racketeering and drug distribution. But the jury was unable to reach a verdict on a charge of violent crime in aid of racketeering activity.

Eugene Mona was found guilty of a racketeering conspiracy charge and Arturo Enriquez was found guilty of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threat or violence. He was found not guilty of murder in aid of racketeering activity.

Sentencing was set for February. Perea, Cardoza, Alvarez, Mona and Herrera each faces up to life in federal prison. Enriquez faces up to 20 years in prison.

More than a dozen people were indicted earlier this year in the racketeering case. The 11-count indictment alleged that Barrio Azteca members were involved in drug trafficking, extortion and at least one murder.

Nine defendants pleaded guilty to various charges before the trial.

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