Arlington Gangs

In 2011, the National Gang Intelligence Center reported that criminal gangs were responsible for 90% of crime in Texas and other states. Over the years, such gangs have been involved in various crimes like homicide, aggravated assault, armed robbery, drive-by shootings, drug trafficking, sex trafficking, and property theft. Authorities say that more than 100,000 gang members are operating in Texas.

Gangs in Arlington, TX, have become more diverse and have, therefore, become harder to catch or deal with. Mainly, these gangs have become more accommodative and cooperative with each other in drug trafficking. They work with each other regardless of ideology or race to profit from drug trafficking. They are also moving from less violent crimes that are harder to prove. This way, they evade the long arm of the law.

Arlington Gangs and Mexican Cartels

There is a close working relationship between Arlington, TX gangs and Mexican cartels. They provide direct support to the cartel drug and human trafficking operations into and throughout Texas. These cartels also use Texas gangs in the procurement and movement of weapons to Mexico.

The entrenched networks between gangs and cartels thrive for drug distribution purposes. As such, these gangs play a huge role in the movement and selling of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. As long as the drug dealings remain profitable, the ties between cartels and Texas gangs will go on.

Texas Gangs Rankings

Gangs operating in Texas and cities like Arlington ranks according to their prominence and threat they pose to the state. Their ranking also depends on their involvement in drug and human trafficking activities, transnational criminal activity, sex trafficking, violence levels, and overall statewide presence and strength.

Tier 1 street gangs in Texas include:

  • Tango Blast and related Tango cliques, with an estimated 25,000 members.
  • Texas Mexican Mafia is another gang operating in Texas, with up to 6,000 members.
  • Barrio Azteca, a gang consisting of up to 2,500 members, also runs criminal activities, including drug trafficking in Texas.

Tier 1 Gangs: MS-13

Mara Salvatrucha, also known as the MS-13 gang, remains a Tier 1 gang in Texas. Over the years, criminals affiliated to this gang have perpetrated criminal activities, including illegal firearms dealing, murder, drug offenses, and aggravated assaults. While most of their criminal activities cannot be accounted for separately, most of them revolve around drug trafficking. This, and other gangs, will involve in criminal activities that essentially strengthen their existence and are profitable to them and the cartels.

Barrio Azteca as a Tier 1 Gang

The Barrio Azteca gang has expanded in their territory, propensity for violence, involvement in human, sex, and drug trafficking, and their evolving ties with cartels and other gangs. This gang maintains a strong presence and continue to run their criminal activities on both sides of the border, especially around the Juarez and El Paso corridor. Particularly, they continue to thrive due to their relationship with the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels.

Operation of Barrio Azteca and Other Gangs

The Barrio Azteca gang owes most of their activities, including drug trafficking, to the newer and younger members. These gang members are opportunistic and often work with other street gangs in Arlington, TX, to run their drug trades. They cooperate with other gangs and cartels despite past rivalries or alliances. By maintaining such relationships, the Barrio Azteca gang continues to expand its activities in El Paso and other cities in the state, such as Dallas.

In their operation, gangs in Arlington, TX, use social media for recruiting, communicating, and boasting. Regardless the age, gang members heavily rely on video-sharing sites and social media to promote their criminal activities, brag of their achievements, recruit new members, and antagonize rival gangs. Gangs in Dallas, TX, and other cities in the state use encrypted mobile messaging applications to convey messages to fellow gang members. Communication is kept private to thwart law enforcers’ ability to trace their activities.

Role of Younger Members in Gangs in Arlington, TX

Younger members of these gangs continue to relinquish traditional gang rules and structures. As such, they opt for less organizational oversight. This allows them to serve in self-interested roles, which proves profitable, especially in the drug trafficking trade. Gangs such as Tango Blast and other Dallas street gangs have undoubtedly thrived upon such operations, where younger members operate on a no-oversight, free enterprise approach to run their criminal operations.

Unlike other traditional gangs, which operated on a strict “blood in, blood out” rule, most of the present gangs don’t necessarily mandate their members to remain in the gang. As such, these younger members relish committing crimes to enjoy the benefits. For instance, they will look for ways to work with other criminals in the trafficking of drugs. This way, they can expand their network, even without the gang leader’s permission, as long as they make the much-needed profits.

Gangs and Scouting Activities

South Dallas gangs and Mexican cartels continue to partner in the smuggling activities along the US-Mexico border. These gangs especially play a vital scouting role for smuggling operations in South Texas. It helps the Mexican cartels mitigate losses or intervention by law enforcers, particularly during drug and human trafficking operations. These cartels rely on local street gangs, who conduct surveillance on any law enforcement activities.

Scouting is critical to the success of drug and human smuggling operations along the border. Such scouts and smugglers not only help criminal organizations grow but also pose a threat to law enforcers and the general public as well. Gangs playing the scouting role move in vehicles, and often travel in tandem with load vehicles smuggling drugs or aliens. In case of an encounter with law enforcement, they warn the load vehicles of possible interdiction.

Gangs that have been documented in such scouting activities include:

  • Tango Blast
  • Texas Chicano Brotherhood
  • Texas Mexican Mafia
  • Texas Syndicate
  • Border Brothers
  • Sureños
  • Paisas
  • Latin Kings


Gangs in Arlington, TX, continue their cooperation with other street gangs and Mexican cartels in running various criminal activities, including drug trafficking. By making use of younger and newer members, these gangs expand their drug trafficking networks. What’s more, they provide valuable scouting services to Mexican cartels in smuggling operations. Such cooperation among gangs and cartels has therefore made drug trafficking operations harder to counter over the years.