El Paso's Central Tactical Gang Unit was recently named the Police Department's Unit of the Year for building "a rock solid reputation" for its aggressive work in reducing gang activity and its intelligence gathering on the Barrio Azteca gang, the award citation stated.
Each police regional command has similar tactical units, known as "Tac" units, split into teams that handle gangs and groups of undercover officers dealing with burglaries and street crime.
Since the early '90s, gang violence overall is down but gangs are still active, especially in drug dealing, police said.
"It's not about turf anymore," Officer Pablo Estrada, one of the six gang officers in Central Tac, said. "It's all about the money."