Texas Gang Threat Assessment 2015
The key analytic judgments of this assessment are:
• Gangs continue to represent a significant public safety threat to Texas due to their propensity for
violence and heightened level of criminal activity. Of the incarcerated gang members within
Texas Department of Criminal Justice prisons, over 60 percent are serving a sentence for violent
crimes, including robbery (24 percent), homicide (16 percent), and assault/terroristic threat (15
percent). We assess there are likely more than 100,000 gang members in Texas.
• The Tier 1 gangs in Texas for 2015 are Tango Blast and Tango cliques (estimated 15,000
members), Texas Syndicate (estimated 3,400 members), Texas Mexican Mafia (estimated 4,700
members), Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) (estimated 800 members), and Latin Kings (estimated
2,100 members). These groups pose the greatest gang threat to Texas due to their relationships
with Mexican cartels, high levels of transnational criminal activity, level of violence, and overall
• Gangs in Texas remain active in both human smuggling and human trafficking operations. Gang
members associated with human smuggling have direct relationships with alien smuggling
organizations (ASOs) and Mexican cartels. These organizations were involved in and profited
from the recent influx of illegal aliens crossing the border in the Rio Grande Valley in 2014.
Gang members involved in human trafficking, including commercial sex trafficking and
compelling prostitution of adults and minors, exploit their victims through force, fraud or
coercion, including recruiting and grooming them with false promises of affection, employment,
or a better life. Gangs identified as being involved in human trafficking in Texas in 2014 include
Tango Blast, Texas Syndicate, Bloods, Crips, Gangster Disciples, and MS-13.
• Mexican cartels regularly use Texas gangs for the purposes of illicit cross-border smuggling.
Members of Tier 1, Tier 2, and other gangs are sometimes recruited and tasked by cartels to
carry out acts of violence in both Texas and Mexico. The relationships between certain gangs
and cartels fluctuate based on cartel structures and cell alignments, gang alignment with specific
cartels, threats or coercion, and familial ties.
• Traditional rivalries between gangs continue to diminish as members take advantage of
opportunities to collaborate and achieve common criminal objectives, typically for financial gain.
Members of gangs such as the Bloods, Texas Syndicate, and Texas Mexican Mafia are working
together to smuggle and sell drugs and weapons, among other crimes. In addition, law
enforcement continues to observe gang members with hybrid memberships, where gang members
claim multiple affiliations, which presents challenges in identifying and investigating gang
I have presented above the executive summary of the Texas USA Gang threat assessment 2015 to illustrate the dramatic changes taking place in Gangland Texas the result of the strategy of the Mexican cartels. Mexican affiliated gangland in Texas are now illicit drug traffickers, human smugglers and human traffickers which have placed these groups at the apex of gangland in Texas. Much more important is the fact that these affiliates are now transnational trafficking organisations which most potently illustrates the revolution in gangland unleashed by Mexican trafficking organisations (MTOs). What must be noted is the discipline the MTOs demand of their gangland affiliates as their affiliates are now crossing gang borders in their bid to maximise their profit from illicit enterprises. Affiliates are then combining to create a poly identity gangland individual that serves the MTOs. What must be grasped is that the same process of change in Caribbean gangland is presently in operation. The assault on Tivoli Gardens, Jamaica in search of Dudus Coke was resisted by members of various groups of gangland Jamaica supposedly at war with each other. Grave myth. Jamaican transnational gangland already affiliates of the MTOs at the time of the Tivoli assault mobilised members of their organisations and those of satellite groups to engage militarily with the Jamaican state thereby sending a message of their power. The creation of illicit enterprises across gang borders in Jamaica has also been noted and the mythic explanation is that prison is uniting gangland. Another cruel joke. Jamaican gangland affiliates of the MTOs are now transnational players especially those who were never before major transnational players. The Texas reality then is being replicated in the Caribbean because the active agent is the same: MTOs. But there is no mention of this reality as mainstream depictions of Caribbean gangland are framed by denial. In T&T the changes are apparent as a new gangland order is being erected on the ground especially in areas traditionally by-passed by the retail drug trade. The affiliates of the MTOs are involved in illicit enterprises just as those of gangland Jamaica and Texas and it is only a matter of time before the changes become manifest publicly. A government’s failure to act upon this reality grants space to the MTOs and their affiliates that will never be closed down by the state. To fail to act for over 5 years is a fatal blow to the security of the state.