SAN ANTONIO – A man accused of holding a prominent leadership position in the Texas Mexican Mafia was sentenced to life in prison for his role in a massive extortion conspiracy, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Raul Ramos, 54, was handed the sentence Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez, according to a news release. He was also ordered to pay a $275,500 fine.
Ramos was a Texas Mexican Mafia Free World general in San Antonio since 2015, according to court records.
He played a part directing other gang members to levy a 10 percent tax on drug dealers in the area, according to the news release.
"Dealers have no choice," according to the news release. "Payment of the tax is mandatory and this rule is enforced through violence."
If a drug dealer refuses to pay, the gang invades the home, assaulting the occupants and taking anything of value from the home, according to the news release.
In May 2018, Ramos pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and prohibited person in possession of a firearm.
Ramos' attorneys argued for a more lenient sentence, court records showed. They disputed the hierarchy alleged by federal prosecutors. They also said Ramos has suffered from a substance abuse problem for nearly 40 years and dropped out of school in the seventh grade.
The prosecution has resulted in convictions for 37 Texas Mexican Mafia members, according to the news release. Twenty-one of those sentences have resulted in life sentences, while 16 other defendants await sentencing, according to the news release.