Friday, March 05, 2004

There I was having an innocent lunch with some coppers last week and one of them drops something of a bombshell. The fact that he threw it out there as casually as he did was merely an illustration that the topic was common knowledge among gang cops.

Let's start with some background. Way back in 1977, a bright, energetic and well-intentioned young woman named ELLEN DELIA was killed execution style about a mile from the SACRAMENTO airport. Her body was dumped by the side of the road. She had just arrived at the state capital from LA and she was apparently on her way to a meeting with state officials to express her concern that OPERATION GET GOING, had been infiltrated by the MEXICAN MAFIA.

She was uniquely qualified to speak on the subject because she ran OGG and had single-handedly secured the funding to make it happen. The goal of OGG was to secure jobs and training for released felons and try to make them productive citizens. A worthwhile task. MICHAEL DELIA, her husband, was one of the ex cons she hired to help run the operation. For you history fans, the headquarters of OGG was in BOYLE HEIGHTS and was located less than a mile from where FATHER GREG BOYLE now runs HOMEBOY INDUSTRIES. The location is now an import/export business run by Pakistanis. I wormed my way in there some time back. But that's another post.

The short version of the story is that MICHAEL DELIA had never really gone straight. He hired active gang members and EME brothers to work at OGG. And they were doing things like selling drugs out of the halfway house OGG operated, using government-funded vehicles to transport drugs and guns and generally ran gang and EME business under the OGG cover. Apparently, MICHAEL DELIA had the blessing and active support of legendary EME brother JOE "PEGLEG" MORGAN to conduct this business. MORGAN saw this profit center as a neat and safe way of running EME affairs. What better way than to operate with impunity under the nose of law enforcement and have the government pay for it? A stroke of genius rivalled only by CHICAGO'S BLACKSTONE RANGERS who got the FEDS to give the gang $1 million. The money was supposed to go for gang intervention. It went instead to drugs and crates of fresh automatic weapons. And it started a bloody gang war with a body count that ran to close to 300.

When an OGG halfway house employee was found shot to death and another died of an overdose in the halfway house and when the assistant to a city councilman was also found murdered after he became aware of the EME's influence in OGG, ELLEN decided to call in State officials. It was her last act on earth.

Eventually MICHAEL DELIA was prosecuted and convicted as an accomplice to the murder of his wife as were several other EME members. And there the story ended. MICHAEL DELIA was released a few years ago and is apparently living in Orange County.

Fast forward to 2004 and I'm having lunch with these cops and one of them says real casual like, that he knows for a fact that most of the gang intervention programs he's familiar with have been infiltrated by active gangsters and EME brothers. He mentioned names. Which I won't do here. And he also said he knows for a fact that these players are actually collecting taxes for the EME while they go about their civic-minded roles as gang intervention activists. I mentioned the DELIA case and asked him if the politicians and "activists" who promote these programs hadn't learned anything about history repeating itself.

The problem as this cop outlined is that CITY and STATE politicians are so desperate to have gang intervention programs to their credit that they don't look as hard as they should when they fund organizations that hire EME dropouts and "retired" gangsters to run these organizations. They basically take these DROPOUTS at face value.

It needs to be made very clear that there's a big difference between an EME DROPOUT and street-gang member who, for whatever reason, decides to park the GLOCK and go straight. There are thousands of ex street gangsters leading normal productive lives. Look hard enough and you'll see them everywhere. The fact is, there is little to no retribution at all for leaving a street gang and going straight. There may be personal beefs or even EME related beefs if you did something like steal from or rat out a brother that could come back to haunt a gangster-gone-straight. But there's no OFFICIAL EME sanction against a reformed gangster unless he committed some very specific crimes against the gang. This is specially the case if the gangster was a THROWAWAY to begin with. More on that in another post.

The EME DROPOUT is an entirely different creature. This is a man who has made it ALL THE WAY IN and took the oath. And once you take the oath, you're in for life. As EME brother RANDY "COWBOY" THERRIEN was overheard saying on an FBI surveillance tape, "There's no back door out of this motherfucker. You pick up a bible, I'm still coming after you." The fact that there are EME DROPOUTS walking around in public doing gang intervention without drawing the vehement disapproval of the EME makes you wonder how they have created a bullet-free zone around themselves.

Just something to think about.