Waco police recently caught several suspects alleged to have organized a powdered baby formula theft ring in Texas cities. The ring is suspected to have stolen thousands of dollars worth of formula from stores across the state.
Police in Arlington, Sachse and Coppell assisted Waco police in investigating the ring, which is accused of stealing between $25,000 and $30,000 worth of formula, including $7,000 in Waco alone. Several warrants have been issued and more are expected. Information suggests that the crimes are ongoing, and that the powdered formula is being used to cut illegal drugs.
The group has been charged with engaging in organized crime.
What is Engaging in Organized Crime in Texas, and What Are the Penalties?
In Texas, Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity is a crime described in Penal Code Chapter 71.02. This charge can lead to increased penalties for people who commit or conspire to commit certain crimes if done while a member of a criminal street gang or a “combination.” Criminal street gangs are defined as having three or more members with common identifying signs and symbols who regularly associate in the commission of crime. Combinations involve three or more members who carry out criminal activities, but they might not know each other, membership in the group can change from time to time and the members may have more arms-length relationships than gang members.
Penalties for organized crime depend on the underlying defense. Generally, participating in organized crime will bump up charges one level. For example, a third-degree felony crime, committed as part as organized criminal activity, could increase the charge to a second-degree felony.
If you have been charged with organized criminal activity in Texas, our attorney can help you get your charges reduced or dismissed.