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Two dozen suspects with alleged ties to prison gang arrested and indicted

Brian Kirkpatrick
U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza speaks from the podium. Around him are officials from the DEA, FBI and other law enforcement agencies.

Federal, state, and local authorities announced on Thursday the arrests and indictments of two dozen suspects with alleged ties to a prison gang.

The suspects faced federal drug and gun charges over their alleged operations based in San Antonio.

U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza announced the joint law enforcement crackdown. "These 24 individuals are suspected of being members and associates of Mexican prison gang known as The Hermanos de Pistoleros Latinos," he said.

The gang also goes by "HPL." Its name in English is Brotherhood of Latin Gunmen.

Ben Post, the senior DEA official in San Antonio, explained that the "investigation revealed that illegal drugs were smuggled into San Antonio from Mexico then stored in stash houses of HPL members ... and then [was] trafficked throughout Central and South Texas."

During the last two years, HPL has moved 300 kilograms of methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine, Post said. The drugs would allegedly be distributed across the region once in San Antonio, he said.

Aaron Tapp, an FBI special agent in charge of its San Antonio office, said that "we are a safer community today because there are fewer firearms in the hands of bad actors, fewer kilos of meth, heroin, and cocaine for sale in our community."

Nineteen of the suspects were rounded up Tuesday, including the highest suspected gang member not in prison. Five suspects were already behind bars. If convicted, some faced up to life in prison.

The DEA, FBI, Texas Department of Public Safety, Bexar County Sheriff's Department, San Antonio Police Department, Boerne Police Department, and the New Braunfels Police Department were also part of the investigation.

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