Monday, December 19, 2005
On the day that Stanley Williams will be available for viewing I'll forward my not-all-that-original theory that he'd be alive today if he had only come clean and debriefed.
Stanley defenders claim that he should have been spared because he supposedly reduced violence and saved lives. The problem with that claim is that it's purely anecdotal. There's no hard evidence to actually back that assertion.
Now let's take an example from recent history. Specifically the Metro Task Force and the debriefed dropouts that became CIs in that investigation. Thanks to CIs, in a brief period between January 1994 and April of that same year, CIs were credited with saving the lives of at least 13 people and probably a lot more. These targets were mostly other homies and carnals but there were a lot of innocent victims as well.
Here's a quick rundown. When Frankie B. was up on murder charges, a certain party put a witness to that murder in the hat. Thanks to a CI, Pomona cops swooped in and put the witness someplace safe.
When all of Big Hazard was greenlighted, every Hazard had a target on his back. The LAPD did a lot of stuff against Hazard that looked like enforcement and harrassment to the uninformed but what they were really doing was showing the flag and keeping the shooters out of the neighborhood. Lives saved? More than a few. They couldn't save them all, though.
When two El Monte Flores homies were put in the hat for suspicion of killing Joker Flores, the son-in-law of a carnal, a CI talked and the two homies were snatched off the street by El Monte PD and tucked away someplace safe.
When Night Owl Castro volunteered to hit a tax resister, a CI came forward and Castro was quickly arrested on out of state warrants.
After China Boy took one in the chest from Hazard while enforcing the tax code, four Hazards were put in the hat. A CI came forward and the four homies were "made safe" by LAPD CRASH.
Last item. The night that E.J. Olmos threw a party to celebrate the airing of a documentary on the making of American Me, a couple of brothers had gathered up weapons and soldiers and were planning a live fire exercise. A CI revealed the plan and the drive-by never happened. Lives saved? Who can say.
This is not anecdotal. This is verifiable material to which names, dates and proof can be attached. So while it's fashionable in some circles to say that Snitches belong in Ditches, it's also fairly obvious that Snitches can keep people (gangsters and civilians alike) out of ditches. The fact is that more than a few people are walking around today who owe their lives to snitches and don't even know it. Ironically, you can bet that some of those people probably have a very low opinion of snitches.
If Williams had had even a smattering of "saves" like the few mentioned above, chances are the arguments to spare him would have found more sympathy with the Gov. Hell, there probably would have been a few cops and prosecutors who would have signed affidavits testifying to his having saved lives. As it turned out, Williams decided to stay gangster to the end. He chose to be a dead martyr instead of a live snitch. It was his call.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
I've been wanting to get to this for some time, but there wasn't enough information to get a clear picture. Recently, it got a little clearer. This incident illustrates one of the many weird dynamics of life in the hood.
On February 24, 2004, ALFRED "LIL TIGGER" SALINAS was shot and killed in front of his house. The man eventually prosecuted and convicted of the crime was FRANK "POPS" GUTTIEREZ. What makes this shooting noteworthy is that the shooter and the victim had been friends since childhood. Tragically, this isn't a unique incident.
According to court testimony, Lil Tigger was approaching his house on the night of the the 29th when he was ambushed by Pops Guttierez. Pops fired a few rounds at Lil Tigger from his car but missed. Lil Tigger ran towards his front door and Pops followed. Hearing the shots, Lil's mom came out of the house and actually got between Pops and her son. Pops continued blazing away and apparently shot and killed Lil Tigger while firing over Lil's mom's head.
With a powerful eyewitness like Lil's mom on the stand, it was pretty much a slam dunk for the prosecution. She had no trouble identifying Pops because the two kids grew up together and Pops was a regular visitor to the house. They played football together and by all accounts they were tight. But as happens often on the streets, they went separate ways. Pops went Highland Park and Lil followed his father's footsteps into Avenues and was putting in work for that neighborhood.
What Pops did was nothing less than a suicide run. It's unknown who lit the fire under Pops to take Lil out, or why, but it must have been a big fire. What a waste of two lives.
Lil Tigger's father is Tigger Salinas, a validated brother who was convicted of killing his girlfriend Sofia Gomez in 2002 after they got into a fight and she threw a beer in his face.
In another ironic twist, and something that foreshadowed his own murder, Lil Tigger got between Frankie "Stretch" Brajas and another homie in a fight at a barbecue about a year before Lil was killed. Showing a lot of heart, Lil took a bullet in the stomach protecting Stretch but wasn't able to keep Stretch from being pursued and shot in the back and killed.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
A crank head in San Francisco tried extracting meth from his urine. In the process he spilled some solvent on himself and then lit a cigarette to ponder what to do next. The answer was get a fire extinguisher. He set himself on fire and was eventually arrested. Here's the url:
Apparently it is possible to extract meth from the urine of chronic user. But you need gallons of the stuff, equipment and at least half a brain. This fool was clearly missing one of those items. If the brothers find out about this you have to wonder if they'll impose a wee wee tax on top of the cell tax and commissary tax.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
We're a little late on this one. Not as late as the LA Times, however. While going through the stack of papers from the month-long travel, there was the notice that on Nov. 17 another name was added to the Federal hate crime indictment against the four AVENUES charged with terrorizing blacks in Northeast.
The new addition to the indictment is PORFIRIO AVILA. He's been accused of driving the vehicle that carried the trigger man in the Bowser murder. We don't quite get the reasoning behind this because Avila is already serving a life sentence for the Bowser hit. Maybe it's because that murder, prosecuted by the County DA, didn't have the hate crime allegation? Who knows. The way of the Feds is mysterious.
Because of this fairly late addition to the case, we're speculating that the lead USA is probably still beating the bushes looking to round up witnesses and anything that could beef up his prosecution.
Just to recap, the Avenues soldados already indicted are Gilbert Saldana (doing LWOP in CDC on an another murder beef), Merced Cambero (in the wind and probably in Mexico), Alejandro Martinez (in Fed custody) and Fernando Cazares (doing 3 years in CDC on a prior case). Another shooter in the Wilson murder (whose name we won't mention), was already convicted by the DA three years ago and is curiously absent from the Federal indictment. And yet another shooter who was never convicted or indicted on the Wilson or Bowser cases is also absent from the Federal indictment. Discuss among yourselves as to why.
Let's see, it's been almost six years since Kenny Wilson was lit up on Avenue 52 and the LA Times hasn't written one word about this. Asleep at the switch? Lazy? Not PC to write about this? Take your pick. And they wonder why their circulation is going away.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Thanks to an email from a reader, we just got word that MANUEL "TATI" TORREZ, a 64-year-old Emero, was killed in Florence supermax by other inmates. Torrez was serving a 160 month sentence that he picked up in the second of the big Eme Federal cases prosecuted by the US Attorney's LA office back in the late nineties.
In that case, US vs. DETEVIS et al, the USA rolled up bunch of Eme members and second tier associates. Tati apparently took a plea at the time. Some observers have speculated that Tati provided information in exchange for some sort of benefit. If he did, he must have had a lousy lawyer because 160 months for a guy in his fifties doesn't sound like much of deal.
So far, nobody has been charged with the Torrez murder. According to the local TV station in Florence, this was the first homicide to occur in that facility. But it probably won't be the last.
Over the years, a number of LEOs with a lot of experience with the Mob have speculated that sending made guys into the Federal system is like pollinating the fields. It just gives the brothers another area for recruitment. We may be seeing the first public evidence of that. LEOs have tracked Eme recruitment in the Feds for some time and have warned against putting them there in the first place.
As a commenter mentioned some time back, Torrez was tight with Bala Talamantez back in the day. Bala made it into the history books when he hooked up with George Jackson in Quentin just before Jackson made his famous escape attempt.
Just for the record, Tati was stomped on and beaten and finally one of his killers jumped off a bunk and landed both feet on Tati's chest. That's the way it happens prison style. When shanks are hard to come by, feet will do.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
On October 16, a reputed Mongol member named Ronald "Sonic" Cobos was shot and killed outside The Pantry, the restaurant once owned by former mayor Dick Riordan. While Sonic claimed the Mongols, apparently he was one of those new wave recruits that didn't even own a motorcycle.
According to what was pieced together, Cobos met up with some females in a biker bar in Alhambra and went to the Pantry to eat. While there, Cobos got into a mad dog contest with a couple of Filipinos. Nothing real serious but noticeable enough that the staff threw the Filipinos out. When Cobos and the girls were done eating, they went outside. In the parking lot across the street, Cobos and his new friends were confronted by a group of ten to twelve Filipinos. Apparently the Filipinos decided to wait for Cobos and called in the cavalry to back them up. Words were exchanged and one of the Asians grabbed a piece and shot Cobos in the chest at near point blank range.
Cobos lived for three weeks on life support but was never able to talk. His status was improving but then all of a sudden, he got worse and died on November 4.
The lesson here is clear. Don't go into harm's way without backup. At the very least bring something that goes bang. You're courage may be admirable but it won't mean much when you lose. Contrary to what some posters have said about the Mongols, it's obvious they don't always travel in packs.
In the same general area of downtown, a yet to be named drug dealer paid the ultimate price last night for refusing to kick up his taxes. Sometimes macho pride can be a very bad career move.
Monday, November 21, 2005
No matter where you stand on the Tookie Williams execution issue, you have to marvel at the exquisite timing of another execution a half world away. Singapore, to be exact, where Nguyen Tuong Van, a convicted drug dealer is scheduled to be hanged on December 2 for smuggling just under a pound of heroin.
When it comes to crime and punishment, Singapore is medieval. You get caned and fined for spitting on the sidewalk, littering or tagging. Drug smuggling is a death penalty offense. Note to Courtney and Snoop. Stay out of Singapore. Just to provide a comparison, Tuong Van was arrested in December 2002. That figures out to three years between the crime and execution. I count good. Since 1991, Singapore has hanged 400 criminals. It also happens to have one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Connection? You be the judge.
Tookie, on the other hand, has had a quarter century of appeals on his multi homicide conviction and he's been allowed to write books and have a movie made about him and, as we've heard for about the millionth time, has been nominated for the Nobel Prize.
It really doesn't get any more clear than this. No matter what Jesse and the Hollywood types like to say about this country, they can't say we don't bend over backwards to make sure every avenue of appeal is exhausted before the State takes a life. And there's still an outside chance Arnold may give Tookie a pass. There aren't any passes in Singapore. They hang 'em high and often. Same goes for other countries like Malaysia and Viet Nam that execute drug slangers. It's kind of ironic too that the same people like the Tom Haydens and the Mike Farrells that were rooting for the other side in Viet Nam aren't saying a word about the drug dealers in Nam waiting to be executed. Go figure.
It would be unfair to say that the authorities in Singapore are completely lacking in compassion. They're letting Tuong's mom have a few extra visits before they hang him.
One of the items I came across while going through the stack was an item in the Daily News from last month. Apparently, the City Council is resurrecting the GANG CZAR concept once again. This time, it's Councilman Tony Cardenas who is reanimating the dead beast. He wants to create a new city division to supervise and coordinate anti-gang efforts. The article wasn't really clear on how this would be done because we suspect that Cardenas himself isn't really clear on how to do it.
Back in the Dick Riordan days, the Mayor and the Council tried to come up with gang czar model and came up with nothing. First they got together to figure out what the full time gang chief would do and where the money to pay him or her and a staff would come from. Then they figured they didn't have the money and decided to make it a part time position. Then they didn't have the money for that either and they couldn't figure out how to make the czar do something that wasn't already being duplicated by any number of other city departments. Then they just packed it up and went home. No gang czar.
While there's always hope, we get the feeling this new effort will end up in the same trash can of half-baked aspirations as the earlier proposal. We've got a few ideas on how to do this, but nobody is asking.
Cardenas wants to lick the gang problem and, at the same time, save the city some money. Famous last words from Cardenas. "I'm sure that we're going to find duplication. I'm sure that we're going to find inefficiency." In government? You think?
Friday, November 18, 2005
It's been a hellacious month. Lots of traveling and launching a few projects that will be revealed in due time.
I finally landed back in town this weekend and by Monday, I should have some new posts up. First I need to catch up the emails and a bunch of news stories that have been piling up.
One thing I did notice while skimming through the various piles of mail and phone messages is the increased presence of the FBI all over the city and county. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting some kind of Federal operation. Local beefs like firearms possession are getting hit with Federal prosecutions. One example was the Black P-Stones getting hit with everything the Feds could throw at them two weeks ago. Which means long Federal time someplace far, far away.
More on Monday.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
This site has apparently been getting a lot of spam from vile marketers posing as legitimate commenters. I know you've seen them. They say stuff like, "I like your blog. If you want to know all about [kitty litter, new car prices, Russian brides etc] here's where to go."
These are mass emails generated by computers. From now on, anyone posting will have to type in the word verification in order for your comments to appear. I know it's a pain, but it only takes a second. Hopefully, the word verification will keep these assbites from clogging up the comments section with useless crap.
Just this morning there were four "comments" from somebody trying to sell a research service. If you see comments like that, please ignore them. Don't click on them because the hits and where they come from are tracked. The more response they get, the more they'll post.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
For you guys complaining that I haven't been around enough, here's my way of making it up to you. Most of this came from very reliable information and it's backed up with stories that ran in the Daily News about the dust being kicked up in the north end of San Fer, the Valley, not the gang.
The two duelling factions are Vincent Town and Columbus Street. Vincent Town is primarily a paisa set that in the recent past was happy moving rock and kicking up to the Eme shotcallers in Columbus. Apparently, the arrangement has fallen apart. There's a lot of money being made in the area and the Vincent Town wants to keep it all for themselves. According to one person on the street, "Vincent Town don't want to be a bitch anymore."
The inevitable friction has reached the boiling point in the last few weeks and bodies have fallen. The main resistance operator in VT is a previously deported Mexican National named VICTOR "OCHI" CASTRO. Ochi appears to be a slick operator and occasionally dresses up in drag to move in and out of the neighborhood undetected.
In early October, somebody took a shot at Ochi's brother Beyo and Beyo's wife. They missed Beyo but the wife was hit in the leg.
The next day, Ochie rolls up on two Columbus streeters -- Gerardo "Bad Boy" Fajardo and Deanthony "Anger" Prichard. Both are hit and Bad Boy is killed. Anger survived.
About a week later, Ochi and Beyo jack up a truck, pick up two homies and they roll right into the heart of Columbus Street territory. One of the homies takes along an AK for high caliber firepower.
As the truck rolls north on Memory Park Avenue, an Impala with Sal
Casper" Miranda and three of his homeboys is rolling south. This sets the stage for what the military usually calls a "meeting engagement." It's also a little bit like an old time jousting match. Both parties open up with everything they had.
After they pass each other with bullets flying in both directions, the truck stops and the guy with the AK continues shooting at the Impala. Casper apparently takes one in the head and another in the torso. He died at the scene. An innocent bystander some six blocks away was wounded by one of the stray AK rounds. Fortunately, she'll live.
Ten minutes later, the highjacked truck is found burning at Columbus and Tupper.
Politically, this is bad news for VT. There's no angel of the black hand looking out for them. Just the opposite. Not only did they resist the almighty tax, but did so with extreme prejudice. They took out at the very least an Associate. Which is bad enough. If Casper was a full blown brother (unknown at this time if he is or not), then the blow back is going to be severe. Regardless of his status, the fur's flying and the sky's the limit with regard to retaliation.
This story is all over the Valley right now and every little homie with his ear to the ground has heard it. So let's not beef on line about who's telling stories out of school. It's just another week of life in LA and we're just here to report the news as we hear it. The Daily News is all over this beef right now and you'll probably be seeing stories about it anyway. You're just hearing it here first.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Four individuals tried to carjack a vehicle early Friday morning (Sept. 31) but got a big surprise. According to the LA Times, the attempt carjacking happened on the corner of Corbin and Vanowen, a quiet neighborhood way out there in the West SF Valley. Just FYI, this is CPA territory, a neighborhood that has a long, long history in the area but likes to lay low and stay out of politics.
When one of the carjackers pulled a gun on the guys inside the vehicle, one or more of the occupants fired back with their own straps. Turns out the men in the car were FBI agents doing a surveillance detail. The result was one dead carjacker and three in custody. Ooops! It's unknown at this time if the four car boosters are associated with the neighborhood or just some freelancers.
Here's a question for you LEOs out there to help fill in my trivia database. When something like this happens, does it automatically become a Federal beef or does local law enforcement take over? Both agencies obviously have jurisdiction so what's the procedure here? Just curious.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Ever since the post on Mundo Mendoza's book, I've gotten email asking how to get it. It was supposed to be on the convicts and cops website but it's not up there yet. I just got this update from the site operator and I'm passing it on.
Mundo Mendoza's CD book, "Mexican Mafia: From Altar Boy to Hitman" is available for $19.50 + $2.50 for shipping & handling. Orders can be made by sending a cashier's check or money order for $22.00 made out to Ken Whitley & Associates, PO Box 2623, Corona, CA 92878-2623. Allow 2-3 weeks for delivery. Orders can also be made through Pay Pal by going to http://www.convictsandcops.com/ under products. Web site orders will be available in a few days
A friend just sent me this from the BBC (British Boradcasting Co.) It seems they've been running a series called "I CHALLENGE" that examines individuals who have challenged authority. I'm running the whole story to save you from clicking over and maybe not being able to access it. Nothing most of us didn't already know, but it's worth a read anyway. Especially the part about retaliation on families. You might even call it rat-alietion. Bad joke, I know.
BBC September 27, 2005
As part of the "I Challenge" series looking at individuals who have challenged authority around the world, Rene Enriquez - a former leading member of the Mexican Mafia, a notorious US prison gang - tells the BBC about his experiences as a Mafioso and his decision to quit the organization.
Rene rose to the highest ranks of the Mexican Mafia In an old arrest photograph, Rene Enriquez stands defiantly, his criminal history boldly stamped across his torso.
One tattoo on his chest shouts for attention. It's a black hand, symbol of one of America's most violent gangs, the Mexican Mafia.
Rene, 43, formerly known as Boxer and once ranked as a Mexican Mafia "Godfather", is serving several life sentences for killings committed in the name of the gang.
For nearly 20 years, nothing stopped Rene in his climb from street thug to top leader in the Mexican Mafia.
He killed men and ordered hits, ran elaborate drug rings, laundered money, and mobilized thousands of Latino street gang members for battle.
Remarkably, Rene committed many of these crimes while serving a life sentence in one of America's most fearsome "Supermax" prisons using complex systems of communication and subterfuge.
But after years of this way of life, he began to question what he was doing.
"I was a leading member of the Mexican Mafia until one day, I decided that I'd had enough," he explains. "I decided to defect."
The Mexican Mafia is one of the "big five" prison gangs that turned California's criminal justice system on its head, operating with near-impunity behind bars.
California runs America's largest prison system, with more than 160,000 inmates. For years gangs controlled drug sales, extortion and other criminal networks in prisons.
US prison gangs operate with near impunity behind bars "You were immediately elevated in your position in your neighborhood once you got out of prison," says Rene, who joined the gang in his late teens.
"The girls loved you, the guys respected you and you learned a lot in the joint. It's crazy, but that's the way it is."
He says he became addicted to the violence.
"The more notches you have on your belt, the more ferocity people see you as possessing, and the greater you become."
As tough sentencing laws packed the prisons, the gangs grew larger. So they looked to the streets to increase power and profits.
California responded by confining gang leaders like Rene in harsh isolation. For 13 years he was locked down, alone, in a windowless cell with only an hour of solitary exercise in a concrete pen.
"Killing Boxer off was the hardest part. That's all I ever knew. That's who I was." But instead of being "broken", Rene deepened his commitment to the gang. He learned complex secret codes to communicate with other members and on the streets.
He adopted the gang's punishing exercise routine and plunged into study, reading hundreds of books on philosophy, leadership, modern corporations and military history.
He learned how to harness the power of fear under the most extreme conditions. But life in solitary took its toll. The gang descended into internal strife.
Exhausted, Rene says the final straw came when some members proposed widening the war against rivals by targeting their families.
"That's when I knew it was time to leave," he says. But killing "Boxer" off was the hardest part. That's all I ever knew. That's who I was".
"I was ashamed of leaving the organization, something that I've killed for, dedicated my life to. Twenty years of my adult life, and I'm walking away from it."
In gang culture, defection is the ultimate disloyalty and anyone who leaves risks being killed by other members of the gang.
"[Rene] has become their number one priority. They want him dead for what he's done," says Gang investigator Robert Marquez. To get out of the Supermax, Rene was forced to betray his comrades and reveal the gang's innermost secrets to authorities in a thorough de-briefing process.
Rene's information proved vital in prosecutions of top Mexican Mafia members, in understanding how the gang infiltrated other organizations, and manipulated the prison system's rules.
But it also put him on the gang's hit list.
"He has become their number one priority," says gang investigator Robert Marquez, of the California Department of Corrections. "If ever they get a chance, they want him dead for what he's done."
He now lives in Lancaster State Prison, a special unit north of Los Angeles in the Mojave Desert designed to protect gang defectors from retaliation.
He runs a prisoner outreach group to educate children about the realities of gang membership and helps the authorities increase their knowledge of the Mexican Mafia.
Rene's hopes are focused on making parole. But redemption is a daunting task, given his bloody history.
"The reality is that I believe that I will die here," he says. "I believe that I will never get out." END OF BBC STORY.
The most interesting thing to me about this article is the reference to killing people's families. Traditionally, my understanding is that's been taboo. I'm not sure if Boxer's statement ushers in a new policy or if it was just talk that never evolved into policy. There have been instances where family members were taken out, but that's been the exception rather than the rule. Thoughts anyone?
Thursday, September 22, 2005
An exchange between TJ Jailer and a commenter at the bottom of the comments section in a previous had me smacking my head. I mentioned the number of reasons dropouts debrief. They were; 1) you want to work off a case, 2) you broke the rules and went in the hat, and 3) politics puts you in the hat. The head smacking was becasue I failed to mention another reason -- the change of heart. As TJ correctly pointed out, Mundo was not working off a case, he was in up status with the brothers and there weren't any weird politics brewing against him. It was purely a matter of turning his back on the life and deciding to go the other way. He's not alone in this course of action. There have been others. By failing to mention that last reason in the post, I was guilty of being incomplete. And I hate when I do that. I just want to set straight my thoughts on that issue.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
For those of you who don't dig all the way into the comments sections, here's something you're missing. The long-awaited book by Mundo Mendoza is finally available.
The name is, or should be, familiar to a lot of you. Mundo was among the first of the big dropouts. While he wasn't there at the very beginning of the Eme in 1957, he was real close. He came to know and operated with the top echelon of the brotherhood and not only knows where all the skeletons are buried, he was responsible for putting some of them there. If the CD is anything like the original I read, it doesn't pull punches or cops out on anything.
I've seen earlier, hard-copy versions of the book and I can't understand why he never found a publisher. If Monster Cody Scott got his book published, the reluctance to publish this superior memoir is a mystery. But thanks to the new media and the internet we no longer need publishers to act as the filters for information. The days of the gatekeepers are numbered.
For anyone interested in the subject, your library is not complete without a copy of this book. If you're law enforcement, a prosecutor, an educator, journalist, crime reporter, policy maker, researcher, an interested observer or somebody still in the mix and wondering why your world looks the way it does, this CD book is essential reading.
The book is being sold through this website.
If you click there now, however, there's no mention of it yet but it will be up on that site sometime this week.
In the meantime, you can send an email to this address and put in your order.
And just in case this sounds like I'm shilling for this project, my financial interest in this is precisely zero. Unless somebody decides to throw me a freebie, I'm paying full retail for my copy.
I'd like to hear some feedback after you read it and digest that mountain of information contained on the CD.
Friday, September 16, 2005
In today's issue of the LA TIMES (9/16) Sam Quinones writes about SNYs, internal Eme/NF politics and what could be the beginning of a new paradigm behind the walls. He touches on so many aspects of this situation that the article could be used as a jumping off platform for a month-long discussion.
The main point of the piece is that Eme/NF internal politics are creating dropouts at historic rates. It's a situation where the prison gangs are basically eating their own.
Let's look at this. There are a number of reasons why carnals and associates drop out. One is they're looking at some long time and decide to catch a break by debriefing and going into PC. The other is that they've broken some reglas and been put in the hat. The last one is the one that should have the big homies rethinking their stand about politics, personal feuds and staking a bigger claim to a pie that seems to be shrinking.
I'm a big believer in studying history. When you know what happened in the past, you might get a clue to what might happen in the future. When Chuco Castro debriefed back in the early nineties, one of the several reasons he gave was that he realized he's taken out more than a few brothers and associates that hadn't done anything wrong. But he went ahead and took care of business anyway because those were the rules. Somebody shows up on a lista and the rules say you got to do what you got to do. Chuco realized that even straight up soldiers who dotted all the I's and crossed all the T's, kicked up, played fair and followed the rules were getting put in ditches because somebody, somewhere, for some unknown reason decided they belonged there.
Chuco came to the realization that if he stayed in the mix long enough, even he could end up on somebody's list for reasons he couldn't even guess at. This is nothing new. But way back then, it was rare that somebody of his stature had to watch his back from the very people that claimed to be his closest allies.
What seems to be happening now is an acceleration of that reality among more and more soldiers. I mentioned a few posts back about the change in the power structure in County. That situation is a straight up power struggle. A "mine's bigger that yours" macho, power move that's only going to create more fault lines and fractures inside the organization. Going back to history, it's a replay on a smaller scale to the insane, self-destructive moves that Nicky Scarfo played in North Jersey. He whacked anybody and everybody, even his own blood family members in an out-of-control demonstration of raw power. The business and the personal got so mixed up in his head that the whole organization imploded from the inside. All the Feds did was find somebody in the mix afraid enough of nutcase Scarfo to tip the scales a little bit. We're seeing a lot of that right now in the Sureno Nation.
What the growth in PC yards is doing is taking away the brothers' power to project their influence beyond the SHUs. They've traditionally had the power because they had access to main yards. As more PC yards coming on line, the power to call shots dimishes. If you play that paradigm out to its logical conclusion, you'll be left with a handful of shot callers thrashing around in their SHUs, isolated from the rest of the inmate population and desperately looking for any willing homie to carry out orders.
PC or SNY yards, as Quinones alludes to, no longer have the negative connotation they used to. It used to be that solid soldiers, North or South, would rather take their chances getting stabbed up in mainline than being PC'd up with chesters, snitches and queens. That's not the case anymore. And you can't blame them. If the very people you grew up with and shed blood for can't be trusted not to turn on you on the say-so of some paranoid carnal in the SHU, then hey, PC sounds like the deal of a lifetime. Better to be a live dropout than bleeding out in a shower or choked out in your cell and not even knowing why the hell you just got hit.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Levar Haney Washington and Gregory Vernon Patterson, the two converts to Islam accused of plotting to set off attacks against military and Jewish targets in LA, pleaded not guilty yesterday in Santa Ana Federal court. An old name popped up in connection to Washington. His lawyer is none other than Ellen Barry. For those of you with a long memory and a mind hungry for details, you'll remember Barry as the lawyer that represented Alex "Pee Wee" Aguirre in the first of the three RICO cases back in 1996. Pee Wee, an Avenues shot caller and alleged carnal, was eventually convicted and sentenced to life. He's doing his time in Marion.
During that trial, Barry's contention that all those meetings in hotels videotaped by the LA Task Force were nothing more than paroled convicts getting together to form a support group to help them adjust to life on the outside. Some of the people taped in those meetings include Huero Shy, Randy Cowboy, informant Chuco Castro and Pee Wee. Clearly, her argument didn't convince the jury.
Alex's little brother Richie was recently mentioned in a recent LA WEEKLY article. Story poacher Christine Pelisek wrote about his murder trial but didn't stick around long enough to cover the finale. Richie and co-defendant Scott Gleason were convicted of three homicides. An appeal is likely.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
I've been sitting on this one for a while because I couldn't verify it. But now it seems every neighborhood I've talked to seems to know about it. It's become common knowledge on the street and there's tacit verification from at least two LE sources. I'll refrain from using names but it seems that at least one brother has made a deal to lift the verde off the Mongols in exchange for a sum of money. The amount I've heard repeatedly is $30,000. Apparently, in exchange for the money, this brother is promising to not tax the Mongols in the future. It's supposed to be a one time deal to bury the hatchet.
But apparently, it's not that simple. There's another brother out there who isn't happy about this. Either because he's not seeing his share of the loot or there's some personal beef in the background that he feels hasn't been settled yet. This brother is also of the opinion that the green should only be lifted if the bikers agree to be taxed on an ongoing basis. Politics, politics.
Okay, so don't shoot the messenger. I'm just telling you what people in the neighborhoods are talking about. The story's out there and I'm just putting it on the air for comment. Don't bother flaming this blog with who has the bigger set of cojones and how down either side is for their clicka. Nobody with a lick of smarts wants to get on the bad side of either of these two warring groups. It's not about that.
Saturday, September 03, 2005
PHONY FLYER OR THE REAL THING?
This flyer has been circulating in neighborhoods. Nobody's sure if it's for real, a fake, COINTELPRO or what. I've seen this on a number of web sites but I think it originated with Eric Leonard, the KFI crime guy. The number on the flyer is registered to a NOI mosque in LA and has apparently been disconnected.
Let's hope this is a big, fat fake. If not, we're in some problems in our fair city.
On another note, we're not going anywhere this weekend for a number of reasons. One, we're way too busy writing. The other is we hate crowds. And the third is we're doing our little bit to save gas. The best way to bring prices down is to create a gas surplus. And the way to do that is to just keep driving down to the essential minimum.
And hey, it didn't take me three weeks to post another item. I ain't lazy. Just effing busy. Have a great weekend. More to come tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
It's nice to see the blog carrying on without much input from me. Reading the debates and discussions in the comments section is like hanging out on the street and listening to the OGs talking. No anger or harsh words. Just strong opinion backed up by experience and tempered by time.
I like the idea expressed by a commenter that this place is like buffet. You don't have to like everything on the table. But there's a lot to choose from. And you'll never go away hungry.
Here's something to munch on. I won't mention names, but some of you are plugged in enough to figure it out. It seems that the balance of power in LA County jail is being upset by a recent arrival -- a shot caller from San Fer. The guy has been kicking up dust, rearranging collection conduits and has put at least one guy we know for sure in the hat over a nothing deal. Prior to his arrival, the center of gravity was located around a couple of EasLos and Northeast brothers who seemed to run County along traditional lines -- low profile, smooth and professional. The money flowed up without too many beefs and the only people who had to watch their backs were the Mayates and tax resistors. This new arrival seems to be brooming the established order, disrespecting some solid camaradas and just throwing muscle around not because he has to but because he can. There's a rumor that a senior resident from the BAY was even sent to County on a bogus subpoena just to check this guy's play. Can't verify that one but it's out there being discussed.
All of this leads me to ponder a notion that was brought up by TJ Jailer in one of his recent comments and then remarked upon by other readers -- the notion that the brotherhood's internal politics will keep it from ever growing into the sort of organization on a par with the LCN, at one time the gold standard of criminal enterprises. There's no denying that the LCN had a great run for a long time and they made a lot of money and achieved a tremendous amount of legitimate and quasi-legitimate power and all of it without putting too many bodies in ditches.
To date, the brothers don't seem able to pull off anything remotely similar to the LCN template. A large part of that, I suspect, has to do with the inability to shake off the street gang mentality and replace it with something more structured. Basically it means that people who don't like being told what to do have to start learning to do what they're told. Which is a big obstacle for people who are essentially anti-authoritarian. To implement that sort of change will probably require a charismatic visionary. A gangster version of Mao, Che or Fidel. Okay, I'll concede that Mao, Che and Fidel are (were) gangsters but you can't deny that they got a lot of people to pull the cart in the same direction. Even if that direction was over a cliff.
The potential is there. There's a huge street organization already in place. What's lacking to push the entire enterprise to the next level is a leadership that's less concerned with back stabbing and politics and more focused on a bigger picture.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Today's LA TIMES ran a story about a policy change regarding use of informants by LAPD uniformed cops. The story is a little cloudy on the facts. Apparently the LAPD asked the federal monitor Michael Cherkasky for permission to let uniformed gang cops develop informants. The DOJ, Cherkasky and US District Court Judge Gary Feess gave the LAPD permission to do so.
What's not mentioned in the article is whether this permission slip will allow uniformed gang cops to pay CIs for information. The truth is, with or without permision from authorities, uniformed gang cops have never stopped using street informants. It's part of what they do as gang cops. Developing gang intelligence would be next to impossible without informants.
It's no big secret that within hours after a gang-related shooting or a homicide, gang cops usually get strong leads on the shooter(s) and the motive from contact with informants. The key to a filing is whether informants have first-hand knowledge of the incident or whether it's hearsay and thus inadmissible in court. The other obstacle is whether the informant is willing to come forward and testify in court in a case where he or she has first-hand knowledge of the crime.
The LAT article mentions that the ACLU has concerns about this "new" CI policy. The fear is that street informants or cops could put a case on a innocent party out of personal retribution or internal gang squabble. This is a genuine concern. I just witnessed a case where a CI made up a story out of whole cloth and basically framed a defendant in a murder case. It turns out the defendant was guilty anyway and eventually copped a plea in exchange for a reduced sentence. But the fact remains that the CI was lying and will probably be charged with perjury. So the danger is there. You can see where the possibility exists of an innocent guy being set up and framed not necessarily by police, but by his own crimies.
We know how slick some players can get. It's not out of the realm of possibility that three of four criminals conspire to kill somebody, agree to finger some guy they want out of the picture to clean up their books and conspire to put the case on him.
The use of CIs can cut both ways. It can make huge cases like the Aguirre and Detevis federal RICO cases but it can also take cases completely off the rails and make LE look like fools and maybe send innocent defendants to jail. Street cops may not like it, but the solution is to impose rigid guidelines, provide close supervision and evaluate the validity of information at every step of the process right up to a DA's filing. We've seen first-hand how the best intentioned investigations conducted by straight-arrow, ethical cops can go completely sideways based on believable but ultimately bad information. It's rare, or course, but all it takes is one bad case to put the entire issue back on shelf and remove a potentially valuable tool of law enforcement. The Perez case was a once in a lifetime incident and look what it do to the city. We're still paying for it.
Friday, August 05, 2005
While I was away, a regular reader sent me an item from the July 28 issue of the Tucson Citizen. According to the article, Police Commander Jesus Zamora of San Luis Colorado, a Mexican town just across the border from San Luis, Arizona, will "work with a local gang" in exchange for an "end to what they [the gang] say is police harassment." There are so many things wrong with this that it's tough to know where to start.
According to the Arizona cops, the gang (which goes un-named in the article) is responsible for smuggling drugs and illegal border crossers and committing at least two homicides. Police Commander Zamora's deal is nothing more than a declaration of unconditional surrender. Coming on the heels of the chaos in Nuevo Laredo, this item rates as small potatoes. But it underscores Mexico's freefall into anarchy. Last week the NY TIMES ran a very long and well-researched story on corruption south of the border that claimed the heart of the rot starts right in Vicente Fox's office. It's no surprise then that Commander Zamora, manning a lawless border outpost threw up his hands and basically said, "Whatever."
The concept of coming to some kind of detente between a criminal organization and legitimate authority is a seductive one that pops up regularly and flames out in a death spiral every time it's been tried. It doesn't work. It has never worked. It will never work. We need only to look at the track record of these misguided attempts.
Let's start with the LCN during WWII. After the NORMANDIE was torched in NEW YORK harbor, the US NAVY and the FBI made a deal with mob boss LUCKY LUCIANO. Because the Cosa Nostra controlled the docks, Lucky would make sure the troop ships and cargo heading for Europe would get loaded on time and only a tolerable level of theft would be allowed to happen. In exchange, Lucky would be released from prison at the end of the war and deported to Sicily. Bad deal.
The LCN didn't suddenly become Mother Teresa. The deal gave the LCN total control of the docks and the longshoreman's union and made a lot of wise guys wealthy beyond their dreams. The deal legitimized the LCN in the eyes of a lot of people who should have known better.
With Lucky free to operate in Sicily, he traveled to Cuba with Meyer Lansky and established cordial relations with corrupt president Fulgencio Bautista. The math is simple. LCN + corrupt Bautista = Fidel Castro. Gee, all the government wanted was to make sure the beans and bullets got to the Western front. What we got was the Russian missile crisis and 50 years of the lights going off every night at 8:00 PM in Cuba. Plus the gulags for AIDS patients and firing squads for "counter-revolutionaries."
In post-war Sicily, Mafiosi no longer worked in the shadows as they had to when Mussolini was in power. They ran for office and became mayors, governors and national representatives. LCN controlled everything, legitimate and otherwise.
Fast forward to the Neopolitan Camora in the 1970s. The big money-maker for the Camora wasn't dope. It was cigarettes. In Italy, cigarettes are a state-owned monopoly. That means the government imports and produces all the smokes. There are no private sector cigarette companies. Which means no competition and therefore, the government sets the price.
At a time when smokes sold for 40 cents a pack in the US, Italian smokers paid over a dollar for the same pack with the government tax stamp on the bottom. The Camora saw this as a golden business opportunity. They bought up entire cargo ships of US smokes and parked them 20 miles off the coast of Naples. Every afternoon at 3:00 PM, squadrons of 35-ft power boats would depart from Naples harbor and lash up next to the mother ship to load up on roughly a ton of smokes per trip.
The boats would offload at a thousand little places on the coast. The smokes were ultimately sold on street corners by little old ladies and young kids. The illegal trade cost the government millions of dollars a year in tax revenue. The Finanza (Italian customs dept.) started cracking down on the fast boats. When the Camora felt the heat, they started killing cops and launched a wave of armed robberies, hijackings, assaults and tourist attacks.
To make a very long story short, the Camora made a deal with the cops. Let us run the cigarette business unmolested and we'll stop killing cops, robbing tourists and hijacking cargo trucks. The cops said okay.
When the Corsicans, French and Sicilians found out that the Camora was running in and out of Naples without so much as a raised eyebrow, they started piggybacking heroin, hashish and weed on the cigarette shipments. Naples became a main port of entry for every illegal substance known to dope fiend. The expected spike in murder, overdoses and fat dirty bank accounts ensued. Bad deal.
In the US, we have the examples of the Gangster Disciples. That social experiment, funded with taxpayer dollars, let the Detroit gangs "police" themselves. The end result was a trip to Lybia, a pact with Qadaffi, a rocket launcher, El Rukn assassination squads, more dope on the streets and more dead bodies in alleys. Bad deal.
To a lesser extent, we had the same situation with Project Get Going here in LA. A lot of you old timers remember that one and I'll leave you all to flesh out the details in the comments section.
The historical precedents to what Commander Zamora is doing in San Luis Colorado are clear. You don't legitimize criminal orgs by making deals with them. It's bad policy that will always burn society. Deals with individuals is another story that can bear untainted fruit. But that's a whole other discussion.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Before I left for the ultra-montane serenity of the Grand Tetons, I was thinking of asking a guest blogger to carry on. When I got back, I realized you all kept the chatter going at a high pitch. Awesome! I didn't realize so many wise-guys checked in. I got huge laughs from the sniping and I didn't even mind the un-PC jokes. But then again, I've got a thick skin. I did a quick tabulation and it seems like every ethnic and racial group got its turn in the barrel. So I guess that makes it fair.
For those who wondered where I went, the answer is Wyoming. We kayaked, hiked, camped out, got rained on, sunburned, hailed on in Yellowstone, bitten by a zillion bugs, went into lakes cold enough to stop your heart, drifted down the Snake River, and had close encounters with moose, elk, marmots, bison, bald eagles, otters, ospreys, grouse and hawks. And no, we didn't witness or hear about any float-bys.
The biggest crime story in the papers the week we were there involved a streaker at the Jackson Hole demolition derby. Like Mutton Bustin' and greased pig wrestling, streaking the demo derby is some kind of annual tradition. Hey, it's Wyoming. And July is the only month when they don't get snow. This year, there was "huge" controversy when one of the streakers grabbed a fire extinguisher off the firetruck that was hosing down the dirt between demo heats. A Teton County deputy sheriff and a security guard tried to wrangle the naked guy. When it looked like nude boy was getting ready to spray the cop, the copper tased him with 50,000 volts. The crowd went nuts, booed the cop and threw beer cups and trash into the arena.
The streaker was arrested and released and could face a $750 fine for indecent exposure. A lawyer in the crowd volunteered to defend the guy for free. Chances are, that'll be the biggest crime story of the year. Nothing much happens in Wyoming compared to LA. The entire state has less than 500,000 residents. And at last count, there were 1,500 inmates behind bars in the entire prison system, and that includes juvi, half way houses, honor ranches etc. Barely enough to qualify as a decent sized single neighborhood in LA.
Vice President Dick Cheney flew into town the day after we landed. He's a resident and avid fly fisherman. A fishing guide told me that local anglers get bent out of shape when the Veep goes fishing. When he's on the river, Blackhawk choppers do security sweeps and that scares the crap out of the trout, ruining everybody's fishing.
With so much land and so few people, you'd think real estate would be a buyer's market. Think again. Raw land in "desirable" locations can go for a million per acre. A modest house in downtown Jackson will run you half a million to $600,000. Right on the corner of Cache and Broadway in Jackson, Sotheby's has a real estate office where you can look at ranch property on the Snake River that goes from 5 to 10 million dollars. Kinda makes Highland Park look like a bargain.
Gotta go. There's 143 emails I need to read and a pile of mail that needs sorting.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
There won't be any posting until August 3. Ithehat is going on vacation. Until then, stay safe and catch me up in if anything happens while we're kayaking.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
There's a a lot of action that goes on in the comments section. I'm not sure that everyone who logs on takes the time to read all the comments. Some are just too good to leave there. I picked this one to run as a post because it's important and it's the absolute straight deal. You're not going to hear anything more authentic than this. It's from regular commenter TIJUANAJAILER. This is the gospel. Everything between quote marks is his. Enjoy and be edified.
"Before people get their feathers ruffled any further it is important to understand that the EME, AB, BGF and NF (California's AXIS of EVIL) does not care about ethnic pride. From Day One, EME began exploiting fellow Chicanos. According to one former EME member's description: "they are an Equal Opportunity Exploiter". End of story. The NF formed out of their being abused by EME and they evolved into a criminal cartel with NO regard (I repeat NO regard) for their people, be they campesinos or northern California gang members. If anyone is being "punked" (as many posters are fond of saying), it is the north AND south gang members by these two groups. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out.
The AB started out as biker "types" and white racist, black-hating warriors. They too evolved into gangsters who could care less about white supremacy and more about the green almighty dollar. The BGF, led originally by James "Doc" Holliday has long since surrendered its
anti-establishment ideology for good old capitalist living. I doubt that the proceeds from their meth labs go back to furthering the "Black Cause".
There are two historical components to the EME-AB alliance and the NF-BGF alliance. There is the racial component and the power component. In prison, it was well known that the blacks and whites were "natural" enemies. Due to the color of their skin, this "natural" racial divide would always separate these groups.
When the EME emerged, they were into power and control and they didn't care who you were nor what color your skin was. Domination, exploitation and terrorizing (there's that dreaded word again) the main population was what they were about. Their power struggle was one that was fresh from the CYA, county jail facilities and wherever Chicanos and Blacks were housed together. The fact that they shared similar social plights on the outside was not a relevant factor on the inside. They never thought about the fact that they indeed shared common dilemnas.
So understand this: EME and southern gang members never really hated blacks because of the color of their skin but more because of the numerical threat they represented. It was about power. Those of you who have done time for many years (especially those of you who were "state raised") will attest to the fact that a handful of Chicanos could confront a large group of blacks and send them "running" like a stampede of cattle by just blinking their eyes.
Then you had your "cream of the crop". The BGF and hard core radicals. They actually respected and admired EME members. In fact, when George Jackson, Hugo "Yogi" Pinell & company decided to take over the San Quentin Adjustment Center, who was there fighting alongside them: Luis "Bala" Talamantez and Louie "Rock On Lou" Lopez, two fierce EME enforcers. In an unholy alliance, they "teamed up" to execute three (3) prison guards and left a stack of injured guards in a cell presumably dead. Read the following link for some interesting stuff: http://rwor.org/a/v20/960-69/969/talam.htm
There is a strange bond (sealed in blood) that unites the EME and the BGF. Their old timers could probably swap some very interesting war stories.
Their unique power struggle was joined by two other groups with axes to grind. The AB loved the fact that the EME's power struggle with BGF (mostly in the CDC's lock-up units) dove tailed perfectly with their "racial" struggle against the black militants. They became EME's natural allies in this battle. Then the NF entered the scene. Their agenda was to resist EME's exploitation of "farmers" and oppressed raza and the flag they initially flew was the flag of ridding oppressed people from the tyranny of La EME. Of course, they found a natural ally in the BGF. Once the NF found themselves effectively separated from EME members, their agenda changed to organized criminal endeavors and this North-South thing became a way of keeping the proverbial pot stirred for the purpose of maintaining control over nortenos (NF) and surenos (EME). And life became a "beautiful" thing for these groups.
There was no real "love" between EME and AB, just a common "business goal". There was no real "love" between NF and BGF, just a self-serving and common "business goal". The prison administration played a major role in "divide and conquer" (as the convicts liked to say) but it was really "divide and control".
Had the prison administration not succeeded in separating these groups there is absolutely no doubt that EME and AB would have run the Yards today and life in prison (if you think it is a horrible experience today) would have been sheer misery.
For all the posters (farm workers specifically) who become offended at the "farmero" label, you should not. First off, Northern Farmers (NF) was a derisive term which originated in late-1970 at San Quentin. EME and NF had a prearranged "cease fire" at that time. A then future EME member by the name of Ramon "Mundo" Mendoza (aka: Machine Gun Mundo) from VNE in Boyle Heights (East L.A.) began referring to them by this term. This wasn't a secret thing as he actually addressed NF members to their faces on the upper yard. It was Mundo's hope that they would get angry enough to break the truce since he could not "fire the first shot" and get the EME upset.
The NF put up with Mundo's abuse and he later would be responsible for the killing of (5) NF members and (2) BGF members both in and out of prison before he defected.
Through the years, EME and its allies have succeeded in getting under the skin of Northern Cal gang members by referring to them as "country yokels", farmers, fruit pickers, etc. Now you know that this is not a literal insult but a continuation of the derisive and disrespectful behavior directed at what EME has always and will always consider an inferior breed of Chicanos. Although we all know this is not true, this is their attitude guys.
With no axe to grind, I hope this enlightens some who maybe needed to see some of this in some organized perspective.
There you have. Lots to think about and consider. Many thanks to TJ JAILER. Keep 'em coming.
I've gotten a few emails since last Thursday asking me to comment on the LA WEEKLY story on the racial murders committed by Avenues gangsters in HIGHLAND PARK. I've got a few issues to resolve with certain parties before I feel free to comment.
As regular readers of INTHEHAT know, I started a campaign almost three years ago trying to get the LA media interested in Wilson's homicide and the racial homicides of close to a dozen other blacks in HP and other parts of the County. Check out my September 4, 2004 posting about this saga.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
File this one under "What the hell were they thinking?" Last week, 23 FRESNO BULLDOGS were taken into custody after they appeared in a DVD called "FRESNO UNCENSORED." In the DVD, they showed off tattoos, flashed signs, handled weapons, dissed cops, barked like dogs and showed off dope. Stuff like this doesn't look good in your parole report. On July 13, six DOGS appeared in court for a prelim to determine whether there's enough evidence to hold them for prosecution. Anybody up there ever hear of self-admission?
On July 8, the Houston Chronicle ran a story about the deportation of LESTER RIVERA PAZ. He's the MARA shot-caller who escaped from a Honduran jail and hot-footed across the border to the U.S. He was caught on February 10 in Falfurrias, Texas after shooting up a busload of innocent civilians around Christmas in Chamelecon, Honduras. PAZ and his crimies executed 28 men, women and children to send a message to the Honduran government that he was stone serious and that LE should back off.
There's been discussion on this site in the past as to whether street gangsters and prison gangs could be considered terrorists. I've maintained they're not. Some disagree and they certainly have strong arguments. There was an interesting exchange in the comments section between STILLNOSCRIPT and TIJUANA JAILER. Worth reading. My point has always been that what separates a gangster from a terrorist is a political agenda and the cold-blooded taking of innocent life.
Street level thuggery like drug taxation, witness intimidation, set tripping and the rest of it is, in one way or another, connected to "business." And the business doesn't involve bringing down a government, changing government policy or taking revenge on innocents in response to political oppression, whether real or imagined.
If everything PAZ is accused of is true, this is one homie that crossed the line into political posturing and wholesale slaughter. In other words, a hybrid gangster who would logically fit into the category of terrorist. Let's hope there aren't a lot more like him out there.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
The rumor of Kilroy's traffic accident has now been confirmed. Here's the note from a guy who has first-hand knowledge.
"Ernesto (Kilroy) Roybal is alive but not well right now. He owns a trucking business, is active in a local church, does speaking engagements with Art and others who are or have been affiliated with Victory Outreach. He was in a terrible accident and is in a trauma center and is expected to recover. Please keep himn in your thoughts and prayers as he goes through this difficult time. He is a survivor and as he would say.."with God's grace I will survive this as well."
Monday, July 04, 2005
I've now heard from two separate sources that KILROY ROYBAL was involved in a very serious car accident. I haven't been able to confirm this so it may be one of those rumors that feeds on itself. Still, it's worth finding out and either put it to rest or veerify it. If anybody out there knows "for sure" let's hear about it.
I'll be off the air for the next few days on some business but I'll be checking emails and comments frequently. Until then, celebrate safely and hang out that flag.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
We haven't seen this level of LE activity in ten years. First we had the big SANA bust in the OC. Following quickly on the heels of that, we've now got a RICO case on the VINELAND BOYZ. US ATTORNEY DEBRA YANG has clearly been a busy lady and the TASK FORCE has been working at what the military calls a high operational tempo.
Just before dawn on June 21, 1300 Federal and local cops brought the big fist down on 36 Vineland soldados and shot callers in North Hollywood, Sun Valley, Simi and the Antelope Valley. Most of them were arrested in their underwear or PJs.
VINELAND last made a big noise in 2003 when one of their soldiers, DAVID GARCIA, killed BURBANK police officer MATT PAVELKA. Garcia escaped to Mexico where hundreds of other suspected murderers and criminals have found a safe haven and protection under Mexico's vile judicial system. Mexico won't surrender fugitives if they face a death sentence or even LWOP in US courts.
Garcia wasn't as lucky as the rest. For reasons I still don't understand, Mexico gave up Garcia. I posted something after his arrest wondering aloud if Garcia's return was the beginning of a new Mexican policy. Apparently not. It looks like Garcia's give-up was one of those non-recurring phenomenons. Since Garcia is also named in this recent RICO indictment, chances are he'll get yanked from County and taken into Federal custody.
It doesn't take much imagination to figure out why VINELAND was targeted by the TASK FORCE. After Officer Pavelka's murder, that neighborhood got an awful lot of LE "attention." Something Vineland resented. Instead of taking their lumps and laying low, the BOYZ went on the offensive and even declared open season on LE. Bad move. A loser move. Especially since TASK FORCE headquarters is right there in the SF Valley. Vineland is in the TF's back yard.
So here we are 18 months later and VINELAND is practically no more. When you murder cops and then openly challenge them, you're just begging for it. What would have been shorter County or State time for low level beefs is now longer Federal time someplace far, far away. The Feds have the manpower and money to sustain the long-term surveilance and investigation that local cops can only dream about. Local cops clock out at the end of their shifts. Not because they want to or they're lazy. It's just impossible to get enough bodies assigned and overtime pay approved. It's a mundane matter of city budgets. The Federal Task Force on the other hand never sleeps. It's also a lot easier for the FBI to get wiretap authority than local LE. Plus they've got better security and relocation programs for CIs. All of which adds up to bad news for anyone who gets in their crosshairs. VINELAND found that out the hard way.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
I don't want to beat the "clueless reporter" thing to death but I was just made aware of the OC Register's story on the SANA bust. The reader who sent it to me underlined the relevant sentences. The reporters, LARRY WELBORN and RACHANEE SRISAVASDI, are talking about SANA and his past.
"Once, the repeat criminal tried to turn away from crime. In 1992, Ojeda unsuccessfully tried to broker a gang truce among local street gangs to stop a spree of drive-by killings."
I have no idea how they came to this bizarre conclusion or who they talked to, but it's clearly bogus. It will probably stand uncorrected and eventually cited as gospel by someone down the road.
On another topic, I want to send out props to everyone that comments. I've noticed the haters have either decamped to other sites or changed their confrontational manner to one that's more respectful. I'm even more gratified to hear from people in the neighborhoods and those who have been through the county and state systems. You're helping make this site what I want it to be. Namely, a place to get the straight deal without the filters.
Monday, June 20, 2005
In a follow-up story to SANA's bust in OC, Sam Quinones makes a couple of startling but long overdue admissions in the LA Times. For the first time, the LAT finally cops to the fact that the famous EME gang "truce" way back in 1992 was a "ruse." Anyone familiar with the subject knows that it was never a truce. It was merely a change in the rules of engagement. The edict from Sana, Chuco and Boxer was not "no more killing." It was "no more drivebys." A big difference. If somebody needed to be checked, it was going to be up close and personal. They said as much on FBI surveilance tapes which have always been available to the public after they were used as evidence in the big RICO cases mentioned in my previous post. The Times never bothered to look.
For years after the 1992 "park meetings" the LAT has held the opinion that LE was making the violence worse by taking "peace keeping" shot callers off the streets. The Times would back up that contention by quoting the usual suspects like Malcolm Klein, Diego Vigil, Greg Boyle and more recently, Tom Hayden. Hayden, in fact, repeated the "peace keeper" myth in his book "Street Wars." And like an echo chamber, the myth was picked up from that book and repeated in other media. If the Times writers were at all familiar with the dynamics of the relationship between the Eme and the neighborhoods, they'd know that a shot caller doesn't need to be on the street to control activity. They can do it from the SHU or anywhere.
The Times has also never written about the other items on the park meeeting agenda: taxation and organizing SOCAL gangs under the Sureno flag. This piece by Quinones finally sets the record straight.
Correct me if I'm wrong on this one, but I think this article is the first major media acknowledgement that Boxer has debriefed. I follow this stuff as closely as I can, but I don't recall ever reading about Boxer debriefing prior to this piece.
Quinones went to some savvy guys for his piece: Rich Valdemar, Leo Duarte and Al Valdez. The collective knowledge of those three is encyclopedic and anyone who has worked with them or watched them testify as gang experts knows they go deep and way back. They all get props from both sides of the street for being fair and even-handed in their assessement of crimes and criminals.
Friday, June 17, 2005
Just when you thought that the FBI was too busy chasing terrorists in the US to worry about ORGANIZED CRIME, here they are taking out the legendary PETER "SANA" OJEDA and 23 of his alleged crimies.
On Wednesday, 300 coppers served 40 warrants after a 2-year investigation on Orange County soldiers and shot callers. Ojeda and the other 23 were charged under RICO statutes, making it the first Eme RICO prosecution in Orange County. But not the first in the state.
To us, this looks like the latest installment of an ongoing FBI campaign to rattle the Eme's and NF's cages and get shot callers off the streets. Students of history will recall that similar RICO prosecutions were initiated in NORCAL in OPERATION BLACK WIDOW against the NF. RICO prosecutions also resulted in three major EME trials in LA COUNTY, US vs. AGUIRRE, US vs. DETEVIS and US vs. MARTINEZ. The FBI never gave the LA County prosecutions a butch name. This one in Orange County was apparently called OPERATION NEMESIS.
Eme/NF watchers will also recall that all those cases were made possible by the testimony of confidential informants. OPERATION BLACK WIDOW's informant was ROBERT GRATTON. In the Aguirre case ERNIE "CHUCO" CASTRO wore a wire and rolled on his brothers. In the Detevis case, there was John Turscak who cooperated with LE. And Max Torvisco was the CI in the Martinez case. So you have wonder if there's a snitch in this case as well. There probably is. It's almost impossible to make big cases like this without a guy on the inside.
I know a little bit about SANA's history. But I know for a fact one or more of you readers out there know a lot more than I do. Let's hear about it. This bust is a significant event in Eme history. And now is the time to comment. In fact, I'll take any significant comment and put it up as a regular posting so everyone can read it without going to the comments section.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
After three incidents of violence at Jefferson High School, school supe. Roy Romer has replaced its principal, Norm Morrow. The new principal will be Juan Flecha who will move from his current position at Eagle Rock High School. Something about this smacks of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Despite what mayor-elect Antonio V. said about Morrow ("My sense, frankly, is that things are out of control," and "I don't get the sense that anyone was in charge.") my sense is that the problems facing Jeff High and other schools are beyond the capacity of a single individual to fix. Morrow was the sacrificial lamb, a head rolled out for public consumption to create the appearance that "something" was being done. Let's off the principal and maybe the problem will go away.
If only it was that easy.
In addition to changing the principal, JHS will also get 90 (count 'em ninety) surveillance cameras, three more school cops, a new coat of paint and graffiti removed from the campus. A new high school will also open its doors in July to handle 700 students from JHS.
The simple truth is, the fights didn't break out over the lack of fresh paint or overcrowding. The problems go deep into the neighborhoods and beyond. For example, the homicide of Cabrillo HS student DEMETRIUS "BEAR" WILLIAMS in Long Beach back in February had nothing to do with the school environment. Cabrillo is a brand new, $45 million school chock full of programs. It has the highest ratio of computers to students of any major urban school on the West Coast. It's got advanced programs for media, animation and computers, a pre-engineering magnet program, a college prep magnet program, and an academy of finance and information technology. So no one gets left behind, Cabrillo also has a "recovery" program for kids falling behind to help them catch up. Plus there's dance and music, drug and gang counseling, mentoring programs and gang diversion. The Greater Long Beach National Conference for Community and Justice supports an on-campus group called Jaguars United whose purpose is to promote interaction between racial groups. They sponsor events like movie nights, peace rallies and "fishbowl" lunches where students are encouraged to socialize with members of different racial groups. All this was in place way before Williams was killed. If ever there was fertile ground for peace and harmony, Cabrillo should have been it.
Despite all these good intentions, racial tensions persist at Cabrillo. At the end of the school day, black students walk on one side of the street and Latinos on the other. Blacks go to the MacDonald's. Hispanics go to a taco stand. Racial taunts are commonplace. If anything, Williams had taken racial diversity to heart. He fathered an out-of-wedlock child. His girlfriend is a Latina. Instead of bridging the racial divide, his relationship with a Latina, cops say, got some people on both sides bent the wrong way.
Williams also claimed WEST COAST CRIPS, self-admitted on an FI card. The two accused shooters, according to LBPD, are WEST SIDE LONGOS. And there we are back at the neighborhoods.
While JHS hasn't experienced a BEAR incident, it's abundantly clear that video cameras, some new paint and a new principal aren't going to solve its problems. Antonio V., Romer and city leaders should do a little more than change the window dressing.
Monday, June 13, 2005
I've been hearing talk about this ever since ROBERT BLAKE's not guilty verdict and I frankly didn't put much stock in it. It seemed too easy an answer for a case that should have gone the other way. But now I've heard from enough people from all sides of the issue that there may be some truth to it.
Here's the story. During her closing arguments, DA SHELLIE SAMUELS used the word "bullshit." Not once. Not twice. But on five separate occasions. Samuels has a reputation for getting emotional in court. Which is fine. Righteous indignation and passion works when you're making an argument. What doesn't work, according to people who were really close to the investigation, is disrespect. Using "bullshit" five times was over the top, according to people I've spoken to, and turned off the jury. Jurors don't expect prosecutors to wrestle in the gutter. They're expecting class and decorum. Samuels gave them potty mouth.
Close observers also mentioned the famous Limousine Rapists case in Long Beach. The DA on that one was BOB FOLTZ. FOLTZ essentially alienated everybody by his disrespectful antics. He pretended to fall asleep during defense cross examination. He also made a big show of doing a crossword puzzle during defense arguments. He basicaly acted like an ass.
The result was not guilty verdicts on all 23 counts. Foltz hung himself like an old salami by the dopey theatrics.
I didn't follow the Blake case closely so I can't speak with confidence about the "bullshit" prosecution. But if anybody out there can expand on it, let's hear about it.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
I can't verify how much of this is true but the Monterey Herald ran a story on May 31 about a SUR vs NORTE brawl at a LAKE SAN ANTONIO campground in MONTEREY COUNTY. From the sketchy reporting, apparently a group of NORTENOS were camping when they were invaded by a large group of southsiders. A fight broke out involving some 50 people. A 17-year-old who claimed Southside was arrested for ADW and 4 others were arrested on outstanding warrants. Unknown affiliation on those four.
Nortes were wearing red and tatted up with XIV and NSC (NORTH SIDE CASTROVILLE). SURs flew blue. At least that's what the paper said.
Although no one was shot, LE found a bunch of spent shell casings on the grounds.
What's interesting is that Salinas officers from the county's JOINT GANG TASK FORCE, according to the news story, "were working in the area at the time." Coincidence? We think not. I think what that really means is that the TASK FORCE coppers had the whole area under surveillance at the time the fight broke out. Which might also mean video tapes of the event exist somewhere. And that might mean more arrests may come down once the TASK FORCE has the chance to view the tapes and make positive IDs. Just speculation, of course, but highly probable. Monterey Sheriff's just got a multi million dollar Federal grant for the task force and it seems likely surveillance gear would be high on the shopping list.
I haven't been able to verify any of this yet. So if anybody out there knows what's what, I'm sure we'd all like to hear about it. But please keep the comments on an appropriately elevated level. We're not here to throw fat on the fire.
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Thanks to a couple of readers on this one. In 1998, an ATF agent named WILLIAM QUEEN went undercover with the Mongols and operated behind the lines for 28 months. He went by the name of BILLY ST. JOHN. The operation ended with a bunch of indictments and prison sentences. Queen wrote a book about it, UNDER AND ALONE. You can find it on Amazon.
The book is a fast but ultimately not satifying read. He didn't go into enough detail to satisfy the truly curious mind. He didn't explore a lot of areas that I know are out there waiting for exploration. Maybe he was holding back not to screw up future or ongoing investigations. Nonetheless it's a decent enough book and worth the price.
A few readers sent word that the book got some interest from the film business. Apparently it's now official. Mel Gibson is attached to the project, as they say in the biz, and he'll play the Queen/St. John part. Queen scored a $1 million payday for the film rights. He'll also be tech consultant.
While we're always hoping for the best, the movie business has a lousy track record when they turn a "true life" story into a screen product. Especially when it involves crime. In the process of transforming a good story into a movie, the real life aspects are clipped and pruned along the way until most of them are left in the script writer's drawer. What you often see on the screen is nothing like what happened on the streets.
The most extreme example of this happened in 1992 when Edward Olmos made AMERICAN ME. As originally written, the script was an accurate history of the early days of the Eme. The story goes that even Cocoliso blessed the project because it told the truth. But when Olmos decided to make a "few changes" the reality went out the window. The scriptwriter walked away from the project. Unofficial and unpaid "advisors" (Eme dropouts) told the producer that the "changes" would piss off the carnals. Apparently artistic vision took a back seat to the truth. And people paid with their lives.
By the time the dust settled, bodies fell, Olmos was targeted for termination and the movie public was short changed. Even people who knew the real life story walked out of the movie wondering what the hell they just saw on the screen. It was a mess. As it turns out, a deadly one for the official tech advisors.
Hopefully, Gibson won't go the same way Olmos did. But in that business, anything is possible. By the time it's over, it could turn out to be "Biker Gangs from Venus Want Earth Women."
On a related topic, I heard from a pal in the movie business that Tony Scott, brother to Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Blade Runner etc.) is doing a remake of THE WANDERERS. If you young guys out there haven't seen it, rent it. It was an over the top "street gang" movie set in Manhattan. By modern standards, the gangs in that movie were as hard core as Vanilla Ice.
Scott plans on shooting it in LA and we'd love to be there for the open casting calls. Advice: don't cover up those tattoos yet. They'll need hundreds of dressed down homies. Hollywood is comin' to the 'hood so practice up on your mad dog look.
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
The free exchange of opinions and observations is one of the reasons I started this site. I'm especially gratified to see that a number of the comments to the posts come from people who have come up in the neighborhoods and been through the system. For the most part, the comments are informative and provide the sort of insight that can only come from those who have been there and back. I'm grateful to people who can contribute without resorting to profanity and don't throw fat on the fire of north/south, black/brown animosity. Or for that matter, advocating any form or violence or prejudice.
I've noticed a battle going on in the comments that has no place on this site. I'm not a prude and I'll tolerate a certain amount of profanity. Especially if it's clever and used like a scalpel instead of a sledgehammer. What won't happen here is hate.
If you claim a neighborhood and want to put that in your comment, go ahead. But I won't allow challenges and cyberspace mad dogging. Keep the fights off this site. There are plenty of places on the internet where you can do that. Frankly, they're boring and do nothing to further the outside world's understanding of what's what.
Please don't ruin this place for everybody else. If you've got something to say, do it the right way. Speak your mind but don't add to problem. Don't put me in the position of being a censor. There's already enough of that.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
The email below asks an important question that resonates deeply into every neighborhood in LA. I'll answer in a very general way. I could go into specifics but I don't want to become the free information library for some LA media types that don't know how or won't do the research. Here's the question.
"Has there been a greenlight issued against so-cal blacks in the los angeles area because of a payment that has not been made to the EME after there was a purchase of narcotics? Some one was telling me that greenlights were issued at any black individual that appears to be bangin no matter their affiliation, if they look the part they are a target. I just wanted to know if this was true."
I'll take the second part of the question first. Nobody (that includes blacks, whites, asians) banging in an established neighborhood needs a greenlight to be regulated or corrected. The reader seems a little confused on terminology. Banging has nothing to do with business or politics. It's street level warfare and it could be brown vs. brown, brown vs. black, black vs. black etc. Banging is keeping your neighborhood free of incursions from rivals with no distinction made on the basis of color. It's a matter of, "This is ours, you can't be here. Period. Trespassers will be dealt with."
Neighborhoods don't issue greenlights because strictly speaking, greenlights come from shot callers. At the neighborhood level, there's always a de facto greenlight on trespassers because that's what neighborhoods do. It's understood from before you get jumped in that it's every homies' responsibility to keep out enemies.
As to the specific brown on black warfare, that depends on a number of factors and those factors vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. Some neighborhoods have shot callers that are more interested in business than warfare. They'll tolerate black dope dealers as long as they pay their taxes and don't start up sets to challenge the established authority of that neighborhood. The question implies that somebody got burned on a dope deal. I'm not aware of any specific big burn but you don't have to be black to get killed over a deal gone sideways. And you don't have to be black to have your whole neighborhood greenlighted.
Other neighborhoods don't tolerate blacks of any kind. They don't care if you're a banger, a dealer or an ordinary civilian that isn't even clicked up. These neighborhoods will not allow a black dealer to set up shop even if he's willing to pay taxes. They won't even tolerate black civilians living next door or down the block. In these neighborhoods, being black is all you need to be to get harassed, driven out or even terminated. I've come across a lot of cases like that and they ain't pretty.
What often determines the racial tolerance of the neighborhood is the personal bias of the shot caller. The shot caller establishes neighborhood policy. If he doesn't like mayates, then they don't live in that neighborhood. If he's the type that puts business above race, then some allowances are made.
As a general rule, the brothers don't do business with blacks. Also as a general rule, brothers don't like blacks moving into the neighborhood because it reflects badly on them. If the neighborhood isn't pure, or nearly pure raza, it's perceived by other neighborhoods as not being in total control. It's seen as slipping. And if you're slipping in that area, you may be seen as weak in others. And weakness is a sign that your forces are standing down and maybe the fortress has some crumbling walls.
Brothers are not big proponents of diversity or multi-culturalism. They're down for the brown and we've heard that some of the brothers won't raise their hand for somebody who isn't 100% raza no matter how much work he put in.
Before signing off, here's a story that goes back to the riots. In the famous chopper footage from Florence and Normandie, DAMIAN "FOOTBALL" WILLIAMS was seen dragging a male hispanic from a car, beating him and then spray painting him. When the brothers saw that, WILLIAMS was greenlighted. Personal hard candy. I've heard he's in PC, but I wouldn't swear to it. If anybody knows for sure, I'd like to hear about it.
Some time down the road, I'll get into the brown on black high school beefs that the big media doesn't seem to know how to report.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Since I've been getting a lot of emails on my opinion about that CNN report, HOMICIDE IN HOLLENBECK, there's obviously some interest. Yes I did see it and frankly, I didn't think it was very good.
The problems and weird reporting illustrated in that CNN story is actually one of the reasons I started this blog. As my knowledge and understanding of LA neighborhoods grew, the more I realized that the big media way way off the mark in terms of understanding and simple factual truth. All they want is some dramatic footage of tattooed homies flashing guns, a heart-broken mom standing on the flower-laden street corner where her child was killed, a talking-head cop with some sound bites about how bad things are and a politician promising to pass some a law that'll "stop the violence." It's bullshit.
I've seen first-hand how the electronic media works. The lack of depth is staggering. One of my readers asked how come that program concentrated on EL SERENO when there's so much else going on in Hollenbeck. She was asking if somebody at CNN or LAPD had a hate on for El Sereno. The simple answer is no.
To the people who produce this kind of programming, they wouldn't know the difference between El Sereno, Blythe Street, Rancho San Pedro or a jar of Vick's. It's all the same to them.
The way they work is fast, furious and cheap. A field producer parachutes in from New York or Atlanta or Chicago and hits the ground making phone calls on the way from the airport. They work off a formula: street-wise cop, crying mom, hard core homies with tats and cuetes, a politician and, if they get lucky, a fresh dead body they can roll on as the cops are laying out the yellow tape.
That's it. If a producer can hit the required numbers, they can put the meathead "reporter" on a grimy corner for a stand-up and they can cut the whole package back home and make it look like they've "been there" and told the tale. It's pathetic really because for most news viewers, all they're ever going to learn about neighborhoods is what an out of town field producer can put together in under three days. The footage is king. The "reporting" is just the audio background noise to give your ears something to do while your eyeballs are glued to the blood, tears and footage of a cop drawing down on suspects.
There are some rare exceptions. In LA, we've got Chris Blatchford who has done some deep digging and some really good reporting. His two part story on the Mongols was terrific. But that kind of reporting is rare.
The multi-part saga that the LA DAILY NEWS did last year on gangs was a dissapointment. With that much space and all the resources the paper threw at the issue, they basically did a TV style job. They did it by the numbers. This was a case of tissue-thin TV reporting influencing the print media. Instead of aspiring to something deeper, they did a paper and ink version of the TV approach.
It's not all bad news, however. Some great stuff can come out of the most unexpected places. The single best piece ever written about THE BRAND, for instance, came out of the NEW YORKER about a year ago. And I've seen some really good documentaries on cable, most notably the one on the Latin Kings that still airs on occasion.
For the most part, don't expect the media to ever give you an accurate reflection of what's going on in the barrio or la pinta. If you want to find a nugget of gold in that mountain of slag, read and view the big media with caution. To paraphrase Jack Nicholson, "They can't handle the truth."
Friday, April 29, 2005
As regular readers will see, I haven't posted for a month. I haven't lost interest. I'm running into time and scheduling crunches that have kept me on the streets and off the computer. Lots of interesting postings to come as a result.
Thanks and a big shout out to all the readers who wondered what happened to INTHEHAT. It's nice to be appreciated and I'm happy that so many people in the blog world find what I write of some use.
I just picked up on a homicide that happened in Indiana. The victim was a validated CLANTON homeboy found in the trunk of a car. I won't go into all the details, but it had to do with 400 pounds of weed and a major drug operation.
For students of the LA neighborhoods, this is a singular event. We've reported in the past on the spread of 18th Street and the MS as far away as CANADA, FLORIDA, BOSTON and lots of places in between. For the most part, these are considered newer neighborhoods that don't have really deep roots in LA and therefore the cultural and historic connection to geography is weaker. These are trans-national barrios, if you will, more fluid and able to operate far from the home office. CLANTON, on the other hand, is one of the oldest LA neighborhoods dating back to the turn of the 20th Century and traditionally hasn't strayed far from LOS.
This vic indicates that CLANTONEROS aren't staying close to home anymore. Two factors seem to be driving the expansion. One is the that shot callers that got rolled up in Federal cases are in Federal lockups all over the Midwest. That means they're recruiting and organizing right where they live. The other is pure economics. Dope is cheaper in LA and more expensive in the heartland. Moving cheap LA dope into places like Indiana can double or triple the profits. It's a proposition no dealer/tax collector/shot caller can resist. If this neighborhood continues to expand south and eastward, they may have to change the motto from "RIFAMOS POR VIDA" to "RIFAMOS POR VIDA Y'ALL."
As always, thanks for stopping by.
Monday, March 28, 2005
In today's LA TIMES (3/28/05) ANDREW BLANKSTEIN wrote a profile of ROBERT BLAKE'S defense attorney, GERALD SCHWARTZBACH. For those who didn't already know, Schwartzbach has been an activist bay-area lawyer for decades. In his piece, Blankstein mentions one of Schwartzbach's most famous cases, defending STEPHEN BINGHAM, another activist bay-area lawyer. Bingham had been accused of smuggling a gun in a tape recorder to the infamous GEORGE JACKSON who was in San Quentin's Adjustment Center at the time awaiting trial for the murder of a prison guard.
Jackson used the gun in an escape attempt and was killed by gun rail guard. Blankstein says, "Six people, including two prison guards, were killed during an escape attempt in which prisoners used the weapon." In actual fact, three prison guards were killed, not two. For the record, they were JERE GRAHAM, FRANK DELEON and PAUL KRASENES. Two other guards, BRECKENRIDGE and RUBIACO nearly bled to death and might have died if COs hadn't blasted their way into the adjustment center to rescue them. Two other inmates (KANE and LYNN) were also killed that day, but not by guards. They were two white inmates who were delivering food to the cells when Jackson pulled the ASTRA 9 mm pistol and took over the tier in the adjustment center. Jackson and his crimies killed the two inmates just because they were there and they were white.
According to the surviving witnesses of that afternoon on August 21, 1971, Jackson personally shot Graham execution style with one round to the back of the head after saying about the gun, "Let's see if this thing works." DeLeon and Krasenes died a slower, more painful death. They were first beaten, then stabbed and then their throats were cut from ear to ear. They bled out over a period of half an hour.
KANE and LYNN, the white inmates, were hogtied with bedsheets and basically slaughtered with razor blades and shanks. You would think that Jackson, described by BLANKSTEIN as "a leader of a black prison rights movement," would have had some compassion for inmates who were trapped in the same "prison industrial complex" he condemned in his books.
In the Blake case, Schwartzbach, according to Blankstein, "steered clear of the media." "The media, Schwartzbach believed, had already tried his client."
In the Bingham case, for those who remember, Schwartzbach went the other way and courted the media in the runup to the trial. A Bingham Defense Fund was set up and donations solicited through the usual channels. The Defense Fund was run by the same people that provided Bingham with a false passport, identity papers and thousands in cash when he fled the country. House parties were organized where Stephen spoke about his upcoming trial and his 13 years as a fugitive. Selected media, which is to say sympathetic media, was invited to these events. The ground was being softened. Doubts were already planted in the public's mind about Bingham's reason for hiding out in Europe for 13 years. The story for public consumption was that Bingham was afraid he'd be railroaded by a vindictive justice system for the murder of three prison guards. The friendly SF alt press went out of its way to concoct and postulate other possible scenarios for how the gun might have been smuggled to Jackson. These included wild theories that prison officials had actually given Jackson the gun in order to have an excuse to kill him. That it was all part of a larger conspiracy to break the back of the Black Panthers. Never mind the fact that Jackson and Huey Newton were at war at the time of his escape attempt and Newton got a triple bonus from Jackson's death. He gained a martyr to the cause. He got rid of a rival for control of the Party. And he now had complete control of the profits from Jackson's best-selling book, SOLEDAD BROTHER. And never mind the fact that Penny Jackson, George's sister went to the Panther headquarters in Oakland immediately after the escape attempt and railed at Vanita Anderson and the other Panthers in residence that they were responsible for the death of her brother.
Ultimately, Bingham, like Blake, was found not guilty. In both cases, however, common sense would say otherwise.