However, they are far from the only ones. He writes of shootouts, drug dealing, poverty, vengeance and violence. This is the first part of an article was originally published in Revista Factum and was translated and reprinted with permission. See Spanish original here.
Thursday, January 17,3 a. A large man left a modest casino in Ciudad Merliot after a night of gambling and partying. A woman walked beside him and they headed towards a white Volvo parked in the casino parking lot. Once they were inside the vehicle, three men approached and took out their weapons: a rifle and two pistols.
And they opened fire. They aimed for his head, but the man wriggled down into the interior of the car. He was also armed and the hired killers knew it — for this reason, they took care not to get too close. The large man took advantage of a break in the shooting to speed away. He managed to escape, with some bullets inside him.
He was bleeding a great deal and when he was far enough away, his female companion took the wheel of the Volvo and drove as fast as she could towards the San Rafael hospital in Santa Tecla. Once they arrived there, she sounded the horn and screamed for help; the security guards moved the bleeding body of the man out of the car and into the emergency ward, and everyone disappeared inside.
But the shooters were afraid of this man and they were terrified of the possibility that he might still be alive. So after a moment of doubt, the three hit men decided to follow the Volvo. They parked in front of the hospital and prepared to finish what they started. Men who are scared make mistakes, and these men made many in a single night. The police captured them without much difficulty at the Salvador del Mundo roundabout, 10 minutes from the hospital where their victim was being treated.
Below, a news report by Salvadoran news station Canal 33 on the capture of the shooters. California has attracted migrants for decades — the US state is a powerful magnet that has attracted railway laborers and skilled workers alike. Other times, the state has been more like a bright light, calling to adventurers and opportunists with brilliant radiance. Just as the Italians and the Irish filled the ports of New York in the 19th century, the Mexicans began to pour into California in the following century.
There are currently an estimated gangs operating in Los Angeles alone, making the city something of a US gang mecca. There are hundreds of gangs fighting each other for territorial control, turf for drug sales, or simply to attain more status.
It is a territory marked by many invisible lines, bringing young men together into groups and then driving them apart; a cycle that pits them against each one another, brings them back together, and make them fight again. The first major dividing line in this space is an ethnic one. The African American gangs are willing to fight to the death against the Anglo and neo-Nazi gangs — white, lower-class youths who usually build their identities around motorcycles — the Hispanic gangs, and the Asian gangs.
The second division occurs within these primary divisions. Both confederations of gangs have been at war since the mids, the product of events that occurred before the majority of current gang members were even born. Thus, the Mexican neighborhoods filled with youths wearing loose-hanging clothes and knives up their sleeves.
They went around smoking marijuana on street corners and becoming embroiled in serious fights with the gang from the neighboring barrio. Huero Buff ganged up with other youths of Mexican heritage with the fundamental goal of defending himself.
However, this goal began to evolve, as the alliance gave them power and strength. The group began to grow and swell with youths from the Mexican neighborhoods and bythey were considered a dangerous group within the Deuel Vocational Institution. It was that year that the administrators of the California penitentiary system committed their first error. They decided to move some members of this new group to adult prisons.Law enforcement officials report that the Mexican Mafia is the most powerful gang within the California prison system.
The Mexican Mafia was formed in by 13 Hispanic street gang members from different Los Angeles neighborhoods who were all incarcerated at the Deuel Vocational Institutiona California Youth Authority facility, which is now an adult state prison in Tracy, California. Gang warfare between Hispanic neighborhoods was the norm during the s and 60s, so the fact that Luis Flores was able to get established enemies to set aside their rivalries upon entry into the prison system was something that was not thought possible.
This requirement exists to the present day. Hispanic street gangs like White FenceThe AvenuesClanton 14, San Fer, Barrio Nuevo Estradaand the oldest of them, Primera Flatswere already into their second decade and firmly established as self-sustaining entities. La Eme member Ramon "Mundo" Mendoza claims that in the beginning the overall goal was to terrorize the prison system and enjoy prison comforts while doing time.
It is said that the name "Mexican Mafia" was to show organization similar to the American Mafia but it was later changed to not be confused with it. Furthermore, the black hand symbol was a reference to the Black Hand of the early 20th century.
Byviolence was widespread enough at the Deuel Vocational Institution that administrators deemed it necessary to transfer a number of the charter La Eme members to San Quentin Penitentiary in the hopes of discouraging their violent behavior. This tactic failed. There were more than a thousand inmates on the yard and no witnesses stepped forward. A string of other slayings soon followed as Mexican Mafia members sought to establish a reputation among the inmates of San Quentin.
The Mexican Mafia's quest for complete control alienated many other Mexican-American inmates who were fed up with Mexican Mafia stabbing, killing, and stealing their watches, rings, cigarettes and anything else of value. Some of the early members were from the Los Angeles area, but NF soon drew inmates primarily from rural communities in Northern California.
The Mexican Mafia saw Nuestra Familia as inferior and "just a bunch of farmers", or farmeros. However, in at San Quentin, a full-scale riot broke out after a Mexican Mafia soldier, or soldadostole a pair of shoes from a Nuestra Familia sympathizer. Nineteen inmates were stabbed and one La Eme associate ended up dead. La Eme should not be confused with the New Mexican Mafia.
Many assaults and murders of members of both groups have occurred as a result of each organization claiming the title of "Mexican Mafia" within the Arizona prison system. They have created their own rules and regulations and have established an organizational structure. The leader, approved by the members, has the power to solely decide important issues.
Law enforcement believes that La Eme presently is not presided over by a single leader. Many Mexican Mafia members have the authority to order murders and oversee various other criminal activities.
The penalty for refusing orders or failing to complete an assigned task is often death. According to the gang's constitution, members may also be punished or murdered if they commit any of four major infractions. These include becoming an informantacts of homosexuality, acts of cowardice, and showing disrespect against fellow gang members.
According to gang policy, a member of the Mexican Mafia may not be murdered without prior approval by a vote of three members, yet the murder of non-members requires no formal approval. Prior to the establishment of the oath, members of the Mexican Mafia were allowed to return to their street gangs after incarceration. The new oath stipulated that the only way for a member to leave the Mexican Mafia was to be killed.The Mexican Mafiaalso known as La Eme Spanish for the letter M is a Mexican-American criminal organizationand is one of the oldest and most powerful prison gangs in the United States.
The Mexican Mafia was formed in by Chicano street gang members incarcerated at the Deuel Vocational Institutiona state prison located in Tracy, California.
Rivalries were then set in stone; gangs like White Fence, San Fer, AvenuesClanton, Varrio Nuevo Estradaand Hoyo Maravilla were already into their second decade and firmly established as self sustaining entities Given such deep street rivalries, it was a marvel that Luis Flores ever got so far as to suggest that inmates who were enemies on the streets should abandon their animosity when they hit the prisons.
But he did and it worked. Luis Flores initially recruited violent members to the gang, in an attempt to create a highly-feared organization which could control the black market activities of the Deuel prison facilities.
If I felt like killing somebody, I would, if I didn't, I wouldn't. We were just having fun then. The power was intoxicating. According to Chris Blatchford, "Byadministrators at DVI, alarmed by the escalating violence, had transferred a number of the charter Eme members to San Quentinhoping to discourage their violent behavior by intermingling them with hardened adult convicts.
It didn't work. For example, the story goes that Cheyenne Cadena arrived on the lower yard and was met by a six-foot-five, pound black inmate who planted a kiss on his face and announced this scrawny teenager would now be his 'bitch.
There were more than a thousand inmates on the yard. No witnesses stepped forward, and only one dead man entertained the idea that Cadena was anyone's bitch. According to Blatchford, The Eme quest for complete control alienated many other Mexican-American inmates who were fed up with Mexican Mafia bullies stabbing, killing, and stealing their watches, rings, cigarettes and anything else of value.
Some of the early members were from the Los Angeles area, but NF soon drew inmates primarily from rural communities in northern California. The Mexican Mafia saw NF as lame and inferior, just a bunch of farmers, or farmeros.
However, in at San Quentin, a full scale riot broke out after a Mexican Mafia soldier, or soldadostole shoes from an NF sympathizer.
Nineteen inmates were stabbed, and one Eme associate ended up dead. The battle became known as the "Shoe War" and it established the Nuestra Familia as a major Eme rival. The Mexican Mafia is an organization involved in extortiondrug trafficking, and murder, both inside and outside the prison system. The first prison gang street execution in Los Angeles was committed by the Mexican Mafia in Morgan was well respected within the ranks of the Mexican Mafia and became a high ranking member.Let's begin at the beginning.
Many people do not know that actually, the Mexican Mafia is not some far-off gang south of the border, but a gang that began in and continues to operate in the United States- and mostly from behind bars, I might add.
No matter how terrible their crimes, no one can say that is not impressive. They formed to protect themselves from other prison gangs they were incarcerated with, but the gang became much more than they had anticipated.
Now, six decades later, it has definitely succeeded in that goal, as this group is responsible for everything their revered American Mafia is: theft, intimidation, and murder to those who go against them in any way, shape, or form. So what do we know about the infamous Mexican Mafia?
Plenty, although most of it is not pretty. Whether you had no clue what the Mexican Mafia even was until stumbling upon this article, or you are well-versed in all things organized crime, here are 15 fun and sometimes scary facts about one of America's most notorious prison gangs, the Mexican Mafia.
One Mexican Mafia member named Rene "Boxer" Enriquez explained the role of women within the Mexican Mafia in an interview with jezebel. He said that in the 's, the gang was considering creating a female faction called "carnales", which is Spanish slang for "sisters".
The plan was to use the women to house paroled members, sell drugs, and set up potential victims. But women in the Mexican Mafia have actually been utilized even more than that; since the 70's, they have been given titles like secretarias, female facilitators, and senoras, who are the wives and girlfriends of the actual gang members and have the biggest role of the females, as they relay sensitive information to the street crews and other members.
Since women were rarely considered suspects way back when, it was easier for them to help out, away from the watchful eyes of law enforcement, who have since realized that women can indeed be dangerous, too. Speaking of women, less than a year ago inone woman closely affiliated with the Mexican Mafia was sentenced to six and a half years behind bars for helping her mobster boyfriend do business from jail.
Peter Ojeda had been the longtime head of the Orange County branch of the Mexican Mafia until he was caught and tried alongside Susan Rodriguez for felony counts of racketeering and criminal conspiracy to commit murder and assault with serious bodily injury.
Together for five years, Rodriguez helped run messages between her incarcerated boyfriend and his allies. He received 15 years, she less than half that, after members of the gang turned against them and offered their testimony for plea deals. This was one of the more recent headlines involving the Mexican Mafia. Sincethere has been a prison gang calling themselves the New Mexican Mafia, which is easy to confuse with the "old" Mexican Mafia. Technically, since the original gang was only formed 10 years prior inthey are both kind of old, but they are still two distinct groups.
Both groups' members consider themselves wholly autonomous in relation to one another. The New Mexican Mafia came about after the original gang split into two groups in One of the groups retained their name, the Mexican Mafia, and the other would go on to become the New Mexican Mafia.
Basically, at least from an outsider's perspective, they do not seem that different other than location the New Mexican Mafia is in Arizona, the old primarily in California.
These two Hispanic prison gangs originated as one, have almost the same name, and are both insanely violent. But to say that to one of them would probably be very offensive.After serving five years on drug charges, Flores returned home and celebrated by drinking a bottle of tequila. He died of alcohol poisoning in Deputy Jerry Ortiz, was interviewing a wowan in a apartment complex located in Hawaiian, when the suspect emerged from the apartment and shot the officer once in the head. Hate Crimes Against African-Americans.
Their hatred towards African-Americans can be traced back to the early s. For example inmembers of the Varrio Hawaiian Gardens gang threw a firebomb Molotov cocktail through the window of Cynthia Hayes.
She rushed her children outside to avoid burn injuries, only to find their home have been vandalised with graffiti of racial slurs. Virgil Henry was chased near Carson Street, after noticing an angry mob of Latinos, including men and women yelling racial derogatory terms. Henry ran through the parking lot of a nearby shopping center, in an attempt to escape the hate group.
Unfortunately, Henry was eventually surrounded by several Latinos who took turns beating him with a baseball bat. Police arrived on the scene only to find the victim suffering from multiple head injuries with a portion of his head bashed in. The shooting took place in a mid-afternoon as Hammonds walked down a busy street Norwalk Blvd. Rudy Villa Jr.
Michael Bennett, is also the uncle of slang victim Martin Hammonds. The gang sweep resulted in the arrest of at least 90 members of the Varrio Hawaiian Gardens Gang. The Hawaiian Gardens mainly feud with gangs in nearby cities such as Artesia 13 and Chivas 13two Latino street gangs located in the city of Artesia, California.
For instance On January 13,a member of the Varrio Hawaiian Garden was charged with attempted murder of a Latino male, who was a paraplegic bounded by a wheelchair. The victim was on his way to an ice cream polar located in the city of Cerritos, when he was confronted by a car load of Hawaiian Gardens, due to his former ties to the Artesia The suspected gunman was sentenced to years to life in prison.
Bang For Jesus homeboy. God Bless Artesian, Hawaiian Gardens and everyone on the street. Shut up Rocco. IP addresses are funny that way. Has anyone heard of the word grammar? Go back to school and get an education. Why do Mexicans worship White people? Spanish is a white language that we gave to Mexicans when we conquered you. Mexicans have no pride. Mexicans worship the ground we walk on.
We live in Mexico because we are royalty in Mexico. Even the blacks want you to go back lol. Brown skin Mexicans aka real Mexicans are the poorest.
Hey spainard… ur people are from the other side of the ocean lame, so ur backs are wetter than anybodys lol. If spain is so great, why do ur lame ass people live in Mexico???Long Beach arrested on suspicion of armed robbery. Charges dropped against Joe Valenzuela and Jack Melendez but Leyva is rebooked on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.
Leyva pled guilty and received a 3 month county jail term. Many blame the racial tension in the city as a result of the. District Court of Appeals dismisses the case against the members of the 38th st. While awaiting trial he escapes using the identification papers of a.
Mexican Mafia carries out triple homicide of three Nuestra Familia members in California state prison. Mexican Mafia members residing in California state prison at Oxford kill white supremacist gang leader Danny Sammons. Jose Uribe, set to be a govt. Castro are sentenced to life in prison without parole. Buelna was green lighted by longtime Eme enforcer Darryl Castrejon for ollecting taxes in his area without authorization.
Castrejon is cheduled to appear in court September 24 in Pomona. Amaya also pled no contest to charges of violating probation in cases involving real-estate fraud and drug transportation. Mexican mafia leaders Salvador Hernandez, 43, and Alfred Hernandez, 39 and eme associates Jennifer Murphy 27,and Jesus Leyva, 34 were named as co-defendants. Amaya was convicted of extortion and carjacking resulting from a incident involving Javier Joaquin Luique, 33 a suspect in a double homicide.
Luque received 32 years on the carjacking charge and faces the deathpenalty in the seperate homicide case. Stacy Nunez-Brarajas faced a possible 27 years in prison for her role in the conspiracy. Castro aveterano from 18th street, used his influence to enforce taxpayments on drug, fruit and ice cream sales as well as chessplayers at tables in McArthur Park.
Castro is already servingthree life sentences after a conviction on racketeering andconspiracy. Delgadillo demanding civil damages on behalf of residents of two Los Angeles neighborhoods.
Castro, 46, is a leading figure in the Mexican Mafia, controlling two of the cliques associated with the 18th.These convicts would put aside Mexican American street gang rivalries, protect themselves from overzealous guards and band together to battle black and white inmates.
The gang soon metastasized, spreading to institutions throughout California and then the nation. Enriquez, a heroin addict and prolific stickup man, was sent to prison and soon became enmeshed in the Mexican Mafia.
He eventually assumed a leadership role as the gang evolved from a prison mob into a sophisticated criminal operation that muscled in on the drug trade in the Southwest. He has covered crime in Los Angeles for decades and he captures the nuances and nihilism of the prison world. He grew up in a predominantly white suburban Cerritos neighborhood, in a home with two parents who had immigrated here from Mexico. His father, an ambitious, hard-working man who eventually owned a custom furniture factory and dabbled in commercial real estate, had his faults, but he clearly cared for his son and despaired deeply when he went astray.
Enriquez quit school in the ninth grade and, along with his older brother, joined a street gang in nearby Artesia. After briefly working for his father, he quit, began slamming heroin and pulling holdups to pay for his habit. He pleaded guilty to 21 counts of robbery and was sentenced to seven years in state prison. He was 18 years old. They beat him on the head with a shaving cream can and robbed him. A member of the Mexican Mafia sent him a few cigarettes and a note, welcoming him.
When Enriquez was transferred to another prison, two men approached him on the yard. I was being looked at [by Eme]. Eventually, he was released from prison but within a few years was sent back for life. He killed a rival carnal who was on a Mexican Mafia hit list and ordered the shooting of a female drug dealer. Enriquez is such an unsympathetic character, showing no remorse or reflection until the end of the book, that the narrative, despite the many dramatic events, sometimes drags.
The narrative is interspersed with fascinating prison arcana. Blatchford explains how inmates -- making collect calls from prison phones and employing friends on the outside who used three-way conference calls and call forwarding -- could run criminal enterprises from behind bars.
The Mexican Mafia -- like its Italian counterpart -- is better at promulgating the myth of the brotherhood than generating actual loyalty.