Ex-member of Mexican Mafia recounts 2016 'revenge murder'

A Texas-based drug dealer and former member of the so-called Mexican Mafia testified Wednesday about murdering an associate in 2016.

James Chapa, 53, told a court in San Antonio that he and fellow Mafia member Ignacio “Nacho” Jimenez fatally beat and stabbed Roland Pantoja 18 times in August 2016 over an alleged hit-and-run vehicle assault on Jimenez a couple of months prior, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

Jimenez suffered “serious” injuries from the alleged assault, the report said.

Chapa told the court he drove Pantoja behind the house of a man named David Ortiz who wanted to “have a talk” about the alleged hit-and-run, KSAT-TV reported. Ortiz spoke briefly with Pantoja before allegedly stabbing him and forcing him out of the car.

Jimenez, who had been standing nearby, approached Pantoja and allegedly stabbed him repeatedly, the Express-News reported.

“Roland (Pantoja) was begging for his life, crying,” Chapa told the court. “He was saying it (the hit-and-run) was all an accident, and he was getting stabbed in the side and bleeding.”

“Roland was begging for his life, crying. He was saying it (the hit-and-run) was all an accident, and he was getting stabbed in the side and bleeding.”

— James Chapa

Before he died, Pantoja supposedly said, “Tell my little boy that I love him.”

The trio allegedly dumped Pantoja’s body in a remote area of San Antonio and abandoned the car in which they allegedly killed him, in a county near the Mexican border.

Chapa told the court he participated in discarding Pantoja’s body because he didn’t want to “end up being the next Roland.”

Chapa, who joined the Mexican Mafia in 2000, told the court that high-ranking members of the criminal organization were in “every part of San Antonio.”

He was granted immunity in exchange for his testimony. Ortiz is currently awaiting trial. Jimenez faces life in prison if convicted.