According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Tango Blast is the most dangerous gang in the state.
The determination came as part of the department’s updated Gang Threat Assessment Report, released in 2017.
Originally forming as a prison gang, Tango Blast was created to provide protection for inmates who didn’t want to join an established group, but also didn’t want to be prey to other prisoners – finding strength in membership numbers.
Recent reports suggest the gang allows “hybrid membership,” so members of smaller gangs can join Tango Blast while in prison, further boosting protection of fellow members.
While their name might not be as recognizable as the MS-13, Mexican Mafia, the Bloods or Crips, Tango Blast boasts an estimated 19,000 members, making it the largest in the nation.
In addition to the core members, various cliche gangs add to their numbers, increasing their threat level.
For example, there are 1,300 members in the Latin Kings, and there are reportedly fewer than 500 people in MS-13.
According to the report, DPS believes the reason the gang is so large is due to their lack of formal structure or membership requirements.
A violent gang with ties to the Mexican Cartels, however, Tango Blast is involved in all types of illegal activities, including human smuggling, human trafficking, sex trafficking, drug dealing and robbery.
In Houston, the gang is known for its large off-shoot cliche called ‘Houstone.’
Members of this sect often get Houston-centric tattoos, such as Astros or Rockets logos, to signify their membership. Similarly, members may get tattoos of local area codes, including the ever-popular ‘713’ and ‘281.’
While their city-based tattoos might suggest otherwise, unlike its rival and fellow gangs, Tango Blast does not require people to join for life:
Members free to leave at any time.
For more information on leaving gangs or severing affiliations, read more here.