In a perfect world, Tango Blast would be a cool, refreshing fruity beverage. But we don't live in a perfect world and the name has instead been appropriated by a rapidly growing, extremely violent Texas gang with ties to Mexican drug cartels. It's some 10,000 members strong, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety's most recent gang threat assessment, having recently surpassed the Texas Mexican Mafia as the largest in Texas, and has been identified as perhaps the biggest threat to public safety in the state.
Earlier this month, an informant told the DEA that he knew of a man living in Duncanville, later identified as Raul Gallegos, who was trafficking large quantities of crystal meth in the Dallas area. The agency decided to have an undercover officer give Gallegos a call and try to set up a drug buy. The strategy was a success: Gallegos told the agent he'd supply five pounds of meth for a bit less than $70,000.
That deal actually fell through after Gallegos said he couldn't get the drugs from his supplier, but the agent insisted. He called back a couple of days later, this past Wednesday, to see if Gallegos had gotten his hands on anything. He had, and they arranged to meet in the parking lot of the McDonald's at Interstate 35 and Ewing Boulevard in Oak Cliff.
That's not actually where the deal went down. Too many cameras and "lots of cops" at the fast food joint, Gallegos told the agent. Instead, the agent followed Gallegos as he drove his black-rimmed Nissan Sentra a few hundred feet down the service road to Star City Body and Collision.
The agent pulled his car in front of the body shop only to be waved around to the side by Gallegos. The next few moments were tense as two pickups pulled up on either side, blocking him in. One of the drivers, Jose Sanchez, stepped out of his car and glared at the agent.
But then Gallegos opened the door and got in the passenger seat, opening a Tupperware container filled with two pounds of crystal meth. "We have good, big shards," he said.
That's when the agent signaled to colleagues watching from a nearby hiding place. They swept into the parking area and arrested Sanchez, Gallegos, and another man, Manuel Escamilla, seizing a handgun and a third of a pound of meth in the process. Inside the shop, they found a jar full of liquid meth as well as more crystals. There, they arrested a fourth man, Julio Robledo. He was actually working on a car.
According to federal court documents filed Thursday, all four are members of Tango Blast, and had the tattoos and criminal records to prove it. All four are back in custody on charges of conspiring to sell methamphetamine.