Balcones Heights officer slaying suspect pleads guilty

Jerry Idrogo to be sentenced in November on federal racketeering charge


SAN ANTONIO – A Texas Mexican Mafia member charged in the slaying of a Balcones Heights police officer pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court.

Jerry Idrogo, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering influenced and corrupt organization, federal officials said in a news release. Idrogo faces up to life in federal prison when he is sentenced Nov. 16.

According to court records, Idrogo admitted to killing mafia member Billy Padilla in San Antonio on Aug. 26, 2013, for failing to turn over drug proceeds to the gang.

Idrogo also admitted to participating in the shooting death of Officer Julian Pesina outside his tattoo shop on May 4, 2014. Court records indicate Idrogo drove the two accused gunmen to the tattoo shop. While Pesina was a police officer, federal officials said he claimed to be a mafia member and had tattoos consistent with being a member of the gang. He also sold drugs to mafia members, officials said.

The accused gunmen, Alfredo Cardona, 38, and Jesse Santibanez, 27, are scheduled to go on trial Oct. 17.

Ruben Reyes, who is accused of ordering the murders, pleaded guilty in July on various charges. He faces up to life in federal prison when he is sentenced in September.

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