Hermanos de Pistoleros Latinos ( a.k.a., Pistoleros Latinos, or, HPL) is a Hispanic prison gang founded by Joe Mendoza and Alberto Rodriguez in Texas during the late 1980s. The Spanish translation of the gang's name is "Brotherhood of Latin Gunmen." It operates in most prisons and on the streets in many communities in Texas, particularly Laredo. HPL is also active in several cities in Mexico, and its largest contingent in that country is located in Nuevo Laredo. The gang is structured and is estimated to have 1,000 members. Members maintain close ties to several Mexican DTOs (Drug Trafficking Organizations) and are involved in the trafficking of large quantities of cocaine and marijuana from Mexico into the United States for distribution.
The Pistoleros Latinos began to multiply in the 1990’s after the gang began recruiting members from cities out side of the Rio Grande Valley. The original HPL members from the Rio Grande Valley resented the new members being recruited from San Antonio and Houston, Texas. A power struggle within the prison gang’s ranks ensued causing the group to splinter into two separate chapters. The original HPL members decided to call themselves the HPL 45’s, while the San Antonio and Houston members were known as the 16/12’s. The two factions went to war and finally reunited under the name HPL in 1998.
Symbols: 16/12, 45, HPL, tattoos of 45 caliber automatic pistols (handguns)
Territory: Laredo, Rio Grande Valley and cities across the state of TX, and southern Mexico.
In 1982, Texas prisoners Joe Mendoza and Alberto Rodriguez form the Hermandad de Pistoleros Latinos. (Gang Intelligence 101)
In Early 1985, an alliance is formed between the HPL and the Mexikanemi. Both gangs attempt to destroy the Texas Syndicate in a 10 year prison gang war. (Gang Intelligence 101)
In 1987, a power struggle within the gang’s ranks ensued causing the group to splinter into two separate chapters. The original HPL members decided to call themselves the HPL 45’s, while the San Antonio and Houston members were known as the 16/12’s. (Gang Intelligence 101)
In 1992, both the HPL and Mexikanemi settle a truce with the rival Texas Syndicate. (Gang Intelligence 101)
In 1997, the HPL declares war on the Raza Unida after RU members refuse to allow the HPL to recruit new members at a south Texas transfer facility. (Gang Intelligence 101)
In 1998, the two HPL factions, the 45’s and the 16/12’s finally reunite in 1998. (Gang Intelligence 101)
In 1999, the HPL and Raza Unida both settle a truce after 1 year of fighting. (Gang Intelligence 101)
On March 20, 2000, HPL member Antonio Lara, 28, uses dental floss to cut out of his cell at the Coffield unit and brutally murders 41 year old Roland Rios of the Texas Syndicate as he's being escorted in handcuffs by guards to the shower. Unable to defend himself Rios is stabbed over 30 times and dies at the scene. (Gang Intelligence 101)
In 2001, HPL members are attacked by the Texas Syndicate at the Telford maximum security prison in Texarkana, Texas. The HPL declare war on TS soon after. (Gang Intelligence 101)
On January 2003, the Raza Unida declares war on the HPL over drug related conflicts. (Gang Intelligence 101)
On November 24, 2003, HPL members brutally murder 6 year old Robert Conchola by shooting the child in the face. The victim’s father was a known member of the Raza Unida prison gang and involved in a drug dispute with the HPL. Loya v. State, No. 13-04-00537-CR (Tex. App. 7/6/2006) (Tex. App., 2006)
On December 6, 2003, Raza Unida members murder rival HPL member Michael Rodriguez on a desolate dirt road. Rodriguez had died from numerous gunshot wounds to the head, abdomen, and extremities. The murder involved a gang war between the Raza Unida and Hermandad de Pistoleros Latinos.Salazar v. State, No. 13-06-00075-CR (Tex. App. 4/10/2008) (Tex. App., 2008)
On January 2004, the Raza Unida declare war on the HPL(Gang Intelligence 101)
In 2004, the HPL and Texas Syndicate settle on a truce. (Gang Intelligence 101)
On April 17, 2005, HPL member Johnny Oscar Villarreal murders former gang associates Donald Bonham in a bar in Beeville, Texas. Bonham is murdered after he fails to report to gang meetings. Munoz v. State, No. 01-08-00223-CR (Tex. App. 1/29/2009) (Tex. App., 2009)
In May 2005, The Raza Unida and HPL settle on a peace treaty. (Gang Intelligence 101)
On November 2005, law enforcement officials learn that HPL members in Laredo, Texas are supporting the Gulf Cartel and are receiving narcotics from the cartel at discount prices. (Associated Press)
On September 28, 2006, the HPL is nearly dismantled by the FBI after 12 of its highest ranking members are indicted on 17 counts of federal drug and firearm possession, conspiracy, distribution and other criminal violations. The Federal Bureau of Investigation dubs the bust "Operation Pistol Whipped" and raid several homes in pre-dawn hours across the state. (Associated Press)
In 2007, members of the Hermandad de Pistoleros Latinos prison gang were charged with stealing large loads of narcotics from Mc Allen, Texas drug traffickers and reselling the drugs. Arrested are HPL members Robert Ortega-Martinez, 28, Ricardo Villegas, 28, Eduardo Ontiveros-Trevino, 37, Jaime Alberto Saavedra, 29, Victor Marquez, 28, and Jesus Espinosa, 30. (Associated Press)