EL PASO-- A female associate of the Barrio Azteca prison gang was sentenced today to 18 months behind bars after she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering offenses, according to federal authorities.
April Cardoza along with 34 other Azteca members and associates were charged in a 12-count indictment that was unsealed in March 2012.
Barrio Azteca, a violent prison-street gang which began in 1980s, expanded into a international criminal organization and in the 2000s, Azteca members formed an alliance in Mexico with "La Linea," which is tied to the Juarez Drug Cartel.
The Azteca-Linea alliance was to battle the Chapo Guzman Cartel and its allies for control of drug trafficking routes through Juarez and Chihuahua, according to federal authorities.
Federal officials state that the drug routes through Juarez, known as the Juarez Plaza, are important to the cartels because they are principal illicit drug trafficking conduits into the United States.
The case was investigated by the FBI's El Paso Field Office, Albuquerque Field Office (Las Cruces Resident Agency), DEA Juarez, and DEA El Paso. Special assistance was provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the U.S. Marshals Service; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Federal Bureau of Prisons; U.S. Diplomatic Security Service; the Texas Department of Public Safety; the Texas Department of Criminal Justice; El Paso Police Department; El Paso County Sheriff's Office; El Paso Independent School District Police Department; Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission; New Mexico State Police; Dona Ana County, New Mexico Sheriff's Office; Las Cruces, New Mexico Police Department; Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility; and Otero County Prison Facility New Mexico, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.