Racketeering laws in Texas are governed by the Organized Crime statutes in Chapter 71 of the Texas Penal Code. Section 71.02(a) defines engaging in organized criminal activity as someone committing an offense with intent to establish, maintain or participate in a combination or profit from a combination. A combination is defined in Sec. 71.01(a) as three or more people collaborating to carry out criminal activities. Individuals committing serious misdemeanors or crimes as a member of a criminal street gang are also engaging in organized criminal activity.
Texas laws on racketeering
Under Texas law, participants in the combination do not need to know each other’s identity. Members of the combination may change over time and the participants might operate from a distance while facilitating illicit distribution operations. Criminal street gang is defined as three or more individuals using a common identifiable symbol, sign or learshership who regularly or continuously associate in the commission of criminal activities. Racketeering is associated with a wide range of crimes, including gambling, fraud, trafficking and murder.
More on racketeering laws in Texas
Anyone involved in a combination or combination profits involved with the commission of violent crimes like robbery, assault or murder could face racketeering charges as well. The additional racketeering charges could apply to anyone involved with or profiting from a combination, or crime ring, associated with drug activity, white collar crimes, prostitution or weapons crimes. Racketeering is most commonly associated with the RICO laws federal prosecutors use to take down criminal organizations like the mafia and drug cartels.
Racketeering laws could be used to prosecute individuals in any organization engaged in criminal activities to generate profit. These may apply to businesses operating illegally or a consortium of individuals operating within the construct of a legitimate entity. Under Sec. 71.023, directing the activities of criminal street gangs is classified as a first-degree felony offense, punishable by 25 years to life. This charge is for identifiable parts of gang leadership, involved in finances and directing criminal activity.