Saturday, June 02, 2007

As a lot of cops have been warning for years, Hector "Weasel" Marroquin has finally been exposed as gaming the system and working both sides of the street. As LA Times and LA Weekly articles this week reported, Marroquin has been arrested in an ATF undercover buy operation. He allegedly sold full auto weapons and suppressors to an ATF agent at his Marrokings restaurant in Cudahy.

The founder of No Guns, a gang intervention program funded with public money, Marroquin has basically been shoved down the throats of gang cops by their commanders for years as a person they should work with to quell gang violence and divert young people from the life. Even though these street cops knew full well that Weasel was a phony and reported it to their superiors, the brass hats and politicians disregarded the warnings and continued to bring Hector around to lecture cops on how to do their jobs.

According to the LA Times article by the energetic Sam Quinones, it wasn't just gang cops that suspected Marroquin of less-than-virtuous intentions. The Times quoted Connie Rice,"I never for a moment believed he ever left the life. I always thought he was using the system." Rice was on the Police Commission at one time and if the city fathers paid no attention to her, for sure they wouldn't take the word of street cops. The LA Weekly article has ten photos of Marroquin and his son and in almost every picture, Hector is flashing 18th Street. He could not have made it more obvious.

In the same article, Tom Hayden stated, "These guys perform a service. If they backslide, well, who doesn't?" The difference in attitude betweeen Rice and Hayden could not be more dramatic. Rice obviously isn't blinded by ideology. Hayden, a friend and supporter of Marroquin's, is still whipping that dead horse in an effort o reanimate it. For one thing, in order to backslide, someone must abandon the old life. Hayden still can't recognize the fact that Marroquin never actually abandoned his ways. He's been an operator for the Meros since day one and Hayden can't or won't admit that he's been played, suckered and hung out to flap in the breeze. Loyalty is a fine thing. But carried too far there's the danger it could turn you into a collaborator and enabler.

For Hayden to actually consider the possibility that Marroquin did "backslide" is in itself an indication of progress. When Ernie "Chuco" Castro was arrested on weapons charges and flipped in 1992, Hayden suggested in his book that the guns were planted on Castro to turn him as an informant. So far, Hayden hasn't raised the possibility of an elaborate conspiracy to bring Marroquin down.

Unfortunately for our city and county, No Guns isn't the only questionable program receiving public funds. There are some out there still operating and doing a better job of deflecting scrutiny. Maybe in the fullness of time, our elected officials will catch a clue.