05/18/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/18/2021 17:00
AUSTIN - A federal judge in Austin today sentenced five individuals, including ringleader Beronica Rodriguez, aka Black Widow, Queen B and Baby B, to federal prison for their roles in a racketeering conspiracy that involved murder, carjacking, kidnapping, home invasion robberies, identity theft and drug trafficking.
U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel issued the following sentences:
'This opportunistic group used any means at their disposal to prey on our community for their own personal enrichment. The streets and homes of central Texas are safer now that these callous and violent offenders have been held accountable for their criminal enterprise,' said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff. 'We hope these federal prison sentences will bring a certain measure of justice for the victims.'
All five defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute. According to court records, the defendants were part of a group responsible for numerous violent crimes in the Austin area to include an armed home-invasion robbery in Georgetown on October 18, 2016, during which several firearms were stolen. One of the stolen firearms was used in the assault, kidnapping and murder of an individual on October 30, 2016. The murder victim's body and vehicle were then set on fire.
In November 2016, members of the group were responsible for a string of crimes that included an attempted carjacking wherein a woman and her small child were shot at; an armed home-invasion robbery of an elderly woman; another armed home-invasion resulting in a woman being restrained and assaulted; and a carjacking at gunpoint of a man who was restrained and robbed by members of the group.
'The FBI would like to thank the U.S. Attorney's Office, Austin Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety and the Bastrop, Travis and Williamson County Sheriffs' Offices for their partnership and unyielding dedication to work the long, hard hours required for this very complex investigation,' said FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division. 'As a result of our collective efforts, members of this criminal organization will no longer plague and terrorize our communities in central Texas with their brazen acts of violence, drug trafficking, and kidnapping.'
The FBI, Austin Police Department, Travis County Sheriff's Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Bastrop County Sheriff's Office and the Williamson County Sheriff's Office investigated this RICO case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matt Harding, Keith Henneke, Dan Guess and Robert Almonte prosecuted this RICO case.