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Mexican Mafia killed cop days before his imminent arrest

November 3, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Mexican Mafia killed cop days before his imminent arrest

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Law enforcement officials were days away from arresting Balcones Heights officer Julian Pesina in 2014 for dealing drugs, but he was shot and killed before they could make a move, a police officer testified during the trial of two Texas Mexican Mafia members charged in Pesina’s killing.

Special agent Brian Vajdos with the Department of Public Safety in Texas revealed that his agency spent months with the FBI building a case against 29-year-old Pesina, whose name came up on the phone of a drug dealer that was arrested in 2013.

Federal prosecutors believe Mexican Mafia bosses ordered Pesina’s murder after discovered he was a police officer acting as a member of their gang.

DPS used the dealer as an informant to try to purchase drugs from Pesina, but he modified the plans. Rather than meet with the informant at his tattoo shop, Pesina left an ounce of meth for the informant in a plant outside the home of Pesina’s then-girlfriend.

However, prosecutors were looking for an in-person exchange.

Alfredo “Freddy Low” Cardona, (Left) and Jay Santibanez

“The second attempt was for the second week in May (2014), but he was murdered on May 4th,” Vajdos stated.

Vajdos said he found out about the murder from a coworker who read it in the newspaper the next day, and DPS and the FBI contacted San Antonio homicide detectives to provide details of their probe of Pesina.

The homicide investigation led to the arrests of Jesse “Jay” Santibanez and Alfredo “Freddy Low” Cardona, the two Texas Mexican Mafia members on trial. Jerry “Spooks” Idrogo and Ruben “Menace” Reyes were also taken into custody.

Both Reyes and Indrogo, a Mexican Mafia Seargent have since pleaded guilty to Pesina’s gang-related slaying.

Julian Pesina, a Balcones Heights police officer, was shot and killed in Northwest San Antonio back in 2014

Reyes was sentenced to five life sentences in December 2016 while Indrogo, who took the stand on Wednesday, awaits sentencing.

During testimony, Indrogo detailed how the gang planned the hit and tasked Santibanez and Cardona, with carrying out the execution.

Indrogo said the co-conspirators planned to take Pesina for a ride, shoot him and bury him in the countryside, the San Antonio Express reported.

The gang members even dug a hole. However, Indrogo said the plan never transpired because Pesina was paranoid and refused to get into anyone’s someone’s car to talk.

“When this happened, we all knew this was going to be something on a large scale because the man was a police officer,” Idrogo testified.

The trio later traveled to the home of Reyes, where they disposed of the firearms used to commit the murder.

Texas Mexican Mafia members from left to right: Ruben “Menace” Reyes, Jesse Santibanez and Alfredo Cardona

Indrogo also described how the suspects went to Pesina’s tattoo shop. Notorious Ink, where he dropped off Cardona and Santibanez on the side of the building before meeting the officer to collect “the dime.”

“Jay shot him with the shotgun first and Freddy Low shot him with the 9mm afterwards,” Idrogo testified.

Reyes instructed the three men “not to be seen together for a while.”

“Later on, I got (an anonymous) call that they were going to kill me,” Idrogo said.

He went to Ohio to live with his sister, when San Antonio police showed up at a relative’s house searching for him, which is when Idrogo decided to turn himself in, confess and try to leave the Mexican Mafia behind.

“When I started in this, it was business, not personal, but now it’s personal,” Idrogo said. “After I did everything for them, these people wanted me dead.”

During the homicide probe, San Antonio authorities searched Pesina’s home and discovered steroids, cocaine in small baggies, baggies with traces of meth and a small scale. Authorities also seized caps with the letter “M” — which members of the Mexican Mafia wear.

Vajdos also said DPS searched Pesina’s social media posts and that turned up pictures and videos of Pesina with tattoos that members of the Texas Mexican Mafia usually have, such as a two-headed snake in the shape of an “M.” He also was in pictures with verified members of the Mexican Mafia.

Investigators also learned that he had phone contact with some gang members.

There also were other signs that Pesina, a Balcones cop since 2009, was balancing two worlds that “don’t mix,” according to Vajdos. For example, Pesina got in touch with a Mexican Mafia member in federal prison to try to persuade him that Pesina had been sponsored into the gang’s membership by another member who had since been killed.

“We were trying to figure out if he was playing a game, or if he was getting in deep in something he shouldn’t have,” Vajdos added.

Vajdos also remembers a 2012 DPS investigation in which three Mexican Mafia members were stopped in Balcones Heights with guns and drugs in their vehicles. Pesina “helped” in the arrests.

“He downplayed the roles of the three members, including a general,” Vajdos continued.

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