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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Southern District of Texas

For Immediate Release

March 8, 2012

Kenneth Magidson, United States Attorney

Contact: Angela Dodge
(713) 567-9388

Raza Unida Gang Leader Gets 30 Years for Racketeering

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Raza Unida Gang Leader Karlos Bouchot, 35, of Corpus Christi, Texas, has been was sentenced to 360 months in federal prison, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack sentenced Bouchot today as well as Jose Manuel Ledezma, 24, of Brownsville, Texas, and Valerie Botello, 28, of Corpus Christi. Bouchot pleaded guilty in April to two counts in an indictment in which he and 13 other members or associates of the Raza Unida gang were charged with violent crimes in aid of racketeering (VICAR), conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and various federal firearm violations. The VICAR indictment alleged three violent crimes committed in Corpus Christi by Raza Unida gang members, including a home invasion in which a man was shot and two other shootings at Corpus Christi nightclubs. Bouchot pleaded guilty to a VICAR count which alleged he and other Raza Unida members conspired to kill another gang member, known as Casper, for stealing Raza Unida drug money. Bouchot was an inmate in the Texas prison system at the time of the offenses and contributed to the conspiracies by use of an illegal cell phone.

Ledezma, described as an associate of Raza Unida, attempted to broker a deal involving more than five pounds of methamphetamine will be serving 324 months in prison. Botello, determined to be a minimal participant in the methamphetamine conspiracy, received a 17-month prison term.

Three other known gang members are set for sentencing tomorrow – Michael Ornelas, 31, of Corpus Christi; Israel Plazola, 26, Mexican Citizen and resident of Lytle, Texas; and Preston Moscorro, 30, formerly of Aransas Pass, Texas.

The charges are the result of an ongoing investigation dubbed Operation Prison Cell being conducted jointly by Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and officers of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Office of Inspector General and the Corpus Christi Police Department Gang and Organized Crime Units.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark Patterson and Michael Hess.