TEMPLE — Bell County is listed as one of the Texas counties with the highest concentration of gang activity, according to a report issued by the Department of Public Safety.
Several gangs are active in Bell County and are involved in drug distribution and other activities, said Commander Jerry Dugger with the Bell County Organized Crime Unit.
The report said there may be more than 100,000 gang members in Texas, and gangs are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime in communities.
Of those top-level gang members in prison, more than half are sentenced for a violent crime, including robbery, homicide and assault.
The main gangs in Central Texas listed in the DPS report are Texas Mexican Mafia, Texas Syndicate and Tango Blast Austin and Tango clique San Antonio. Other gangs include the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, Crips, Bloods, Bandidos, Hermanded de Pistoleros Latinos, Sureno 13, Aryan Circle, Latin Kings and Gangster Disciples.
Tango Blast was listed as the “state’s most significant gang threat.” Gang members live in Central Texas but usually “stay under the radar,” Moody Police Chief Chris Veselka said Thursday.
“I’m sure gangs probably have something to do with drug activity in the area but generally they keep that activity at a distance from where they live,” Veselka said.
A Moody man has been on Bell County’s radar since at least 1998, according to Department of Public Safety criminal records.
Blas Segura Jr., 35, was in Bell County Jail on Thursday after being arrested April 10 by the Bell County Organized Crime Unit.
Segura is listed in jail records as connected with a Houston gang. Segura reportedly has ties with different groups, including the Mexican cartel, Veselka said. He was recently charged with manufacturing and delivering drugs. Bond was set at $100,000.
Veselka said he recently arrested Segura with 55 grams of methamphetamine in his vehicle.
“That’s a lot of meth,” Veselka said. “He was trying to stuff his dope in the back seat and ran me off the road while doing it. I stopped him and found the meth. He didn’t have any cash with him. He must have just picked up the dope.”
In April 2013, a “governor” for the Gangster Disciples street gang was wanted for engaging in criminal activity during a home invasion robbery and the murder of a rival gang member in Killeen, according to a DPS news release evaluating Texas’ gang threats. The suspect was arrested while he worked at a construction site in Lubbock, according to the release.
Segura’s criminal history is a long one, including a Feb. 24, 2012, arrest when he was accused of assault and other charges.
The arrest affidavit for that incident stated Segura kicked open the door of his wife’s residence. She had a protective order against him. He reportedly held a knife to her throat and assaulted her, forced her into a vehicle and kept hitting her with his fists. The affidavit said Segura ripped her clothes off and left her in the vehicle while he picked up a woman.
She couldn’t escape because the door handle was broken, but she escaped at some point when both Segura and the woman left the vehicle. Photographs taken of her showed injuries to her head and body, according to the affidavit.
A November arrest affidavit stated that on Nov. 7 members of the Organized Crime Unit, U.S. Marshal’s Office and Temple Police Department were preparing to serve a felony arrest warrant on Segura for a probation violation and failure to appear in court.
Segura ran, jumped off the edge of an overpass and was caught. A small black bag with $4,000 in cash was found on Segura, along with several small baggies that field tested positive for 4.1 grams of methamphetamine.
Segura also had marijuana and hydrocodone in his possession.
Also found in Segura’s motel room was a sawed-off shotgun and more methamphetamine.