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Five members of violent Austin-area crime faction sentenced to federal prison

All five defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute.

AUSTIN, Texas — On Tuesday, a federal judge in Austin sentenced five members of a crime faction to federal prison.

According to a statement by the U.S Department of Justice, the group was sentenced for their roles in a racketeering conspiracy that involved murder, carjacking, kidnapping, home invasion, robberies, identity theft and drug trafficking.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel issued varying sentences to the following people:

  • Beronica Rodriguez, age 42
  • Leon Castillo, age 34
  • Thomas Cisneros Jr., age 27
  • Gloriana Vega, age 23
  • Jacqelynn Aleman, age 24

Court records show the defendants were part of a group responsible for a string of several violent crimes in the Austin area, including an attempted carjacking in 2016 where a woman and her small child were shot at, an armed home-invasion robbery of an elderly woman and the assault, kidnapping and murder of an individual on Oct. 30, 2016.

“The streets and homes of Central Texas are safer now that these callous and violent offenders have been held accountable for their criminal enterprise,” said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff. 

Beronica Rodriguez, named as the ringleader of the group, received 336 months of prison followed by five years of supervised release.

Attorney Hoff also hopes these federal prison sentences will bring a certain measure of justice for the victims of this group.

The FBI, Austin Police Department, Travis County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office and the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office all participated in the investigation of this RICO case. 

“As a result of our collective efforts, members of this criminal organization will no longer plague and terrorize our communities in central Texas with their brazen acts of violence," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs.


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