Mexican Mafia leader sentenced to life for killings of Balcones Heights cop, 4 others

Ruben Reyes pleads guilty in slaying of Officer Julian Pesina, 4 Mafia members

SAN ANTONIO – A Texas Mexican Mafia leader was sentenced in federal court Wednesday to five consecutive life in federal prison terms for the slayings of a Balcones Heights police officer and four other gang members.

Ruben Reyes (aka “Menace”), pleaded guilty July 28 to ordering the shooting death of Officer Julian Pesina outside his Notorious Ink Tattoo and Piercing Studio on May 4, 2014, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Under orders from TMM leadership, Reyes ordered a TMM member, a TMM prospect and another TMM member who was not in good standing to carry out the murder of Pesina, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. The firearms used to kill Pesina were given to Reyes.

Although he was a police officer, Pesina was simultaneously claiming membership in the TMM, had tattoos consistent with such membership and was selling drugs to TMM members, federal officials said.

Reyes also killed TMM member Ulysses Farias in front of his family on Oct. 12, 2013, federal officials said.

He also shot and killed TMM "Captain" Mark "Lefty" Bernal, TMM "General" Carlos "Worm" Chapa and TMM "Lieutenant of Lieutenants" Johnny "Smiley" Solis on Jan. 13, 2014, federal officials said.

"Reyes was aptly nicknamed," U.S. Attorney Richard Durbin said.  "The outstanding efforts of the investigators from the cooperating law enforcement agencies have removed this 'menace' from the streets and made San Antonio safer." 

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David Ibañez has been managing editor of since the website's launch in October 2000.