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Feds Say Texas Syndicate Has Been "Wiped Out" In San Antonio

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The last member of the Texas Syndicate on a 20-defendant federal indictment has been sent to prison, and federal officials say the sentencing effectively shut down the prison-based gang in San Antonio.

Of the handful of prison gangs in Texas, the TS had operated mainly in the other big cities in the state -- Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Joey Contreras in San Antonio said the government’s earlier success in getting rid of the Mexican Mafia allowed the TS to get a foothold here.

"There's no question that we damaged the [Mexican] Mafia significantly in the last seven or eight years in San Antonio with multiple prosecutions," Contreras said. "We sent so many of them to prison for so long that it weakened them read real bad."

On Friday morning, a federal judge in San Antonio handed down a 15-year prison sentence to TS leader Rolando Muniz, who admitted he conspired with others in a pattern of organized crimes that included four murders, two attempted murders, drug trafficking and other crimes.

There are no paroles in the federal system, and Contreras said Muniz’ sentence means the most violent, highest-ranking members of the TS will serve their entire sentences behind bars.

"And that's our goal, is to take them off the streets. These are people who just commit felonies every day," Contreras said.

Other TS defendants previously received federal prison terms ranging up to 37 years.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.