Tango Blast usurps Mexican Mafia as state's biggest gang threat - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Tango Blast usurps Mexican Mafia as state's biggest gang threat

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

The Mexican Mafia once held the title in Texas. Now the gang Tango Blast is being called the state's biggest gang threat.

More than 100,000 gang members are said to be committing crimes in Texas. This is all according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Texas DPS released a report pointing out how one gang in particular Tango Blast has 10,000 members and has ties to the Mexican cartels carrying out violent and deadly crimes in Mexico. Tango Blast also has strong roots in Houston.

If you spot a guy sporting a tattoo of the Houston Astros star and maybe even wearing a 'stros jersey you might mistake him for simply a baseball fan.

However, the star is actually the symbol for Tango Blast gang members.

"They affiliate themselves with things of local origin like the 713 area code, the Astros symbol, the Astros star," explains Harris County Assistant District Attorney Cameron Calligan.

Calligan is very familiar with this gang.

"I have handled and other prosecutors have handled members of this gang for everything from theft to burglary all the way up to violent crimes like aggravated assault and murder," he explains.

According to DPS Tango Blast is made up of mostly hispanic young men and has been growing in membership for years.

"Obviously they are growing. There's a pretty easy or straight forward way to gain membership into these gangs, doing criminal activity. The more people who are in these gangs, the more people who are participating in the organized structure of the crimes that are being committed by these gangs, the bigger the problem for all of us," says Calligan.

There are now 10,000 members in Tango Blast compared to 6,000 in the Texas Mexican Mafia.

These two gangs are listed as the two largest in Texas on this DPS report.

"I don't think it matters what the name of the gang is, what's the most populous. They're all a problem. The fact that they exist and they engage in the activities is the problem," adds Calligan.

The report also says more gangs are now running prostitution rings.

DPS says the relationship between those volatile Mexican cartels and Texas gangs has grown over the past year and the cartels are using the gangs to carryout acts of violence and to smuggle drugs, people, weapons and cash across the border.

The Houston Police Department, Harris County Sheriff's Office and the Houston FBI office all have gang task force divisions trying to stop the problem.

Here's a link to the full DPS Gang Threat Assessment Report http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/director_staff/media_and_communications/pr040113b.htm.

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