Way back in old days (I think what would be 2009) this blog raised the issue that our home-grown prison gang (the Eme) was making deals and arrangements with Mexican Drug Cartels. This was based on some threads of evidence that we came across combined with common sense predictions.
It appears we were once again prescient and way ahead of the curve. It's not like we created Cold Fusion or anything but just indicates that if you ask the right questions based on current best knowledge can lead to some inevitable conclusions.
Last week, the Feds (ICE, DEA) and local coppers broke up a significant Florencia 13/La Familia operation. The usual shocked faces appeared on the news and the usual platitudes were uttered by law enforcement about what a great job they do and how this puts a big dent in the operations of a DTO and how much safer we all are etc. etc. etc.
These alliances are nothing new. Just bigger and better organized and with more players involved with more money to play with and bigger loads to deliver.
A quick review of history will reveal that as far back as the days when Joe Morgan was playing on the streets, the Eme always had a south-facing strategy that ebbed and flowed with who was on the streets and how good their connections were south of San Diego. Morgan was known to visit Mexico with a girlfriend in a motor home. In the days before dope sniffing dogs, X-ray machines and the rest of the electronic tools, Morgan would pack the empty spaces in the Mo Ho with dope and drive it back into the U.S. To the curious, Morgan and the girl looked like tourists. Sort of a precursor to the current "We're the Millers" movie.
Over time, the arrangements shifted. We had Bat Marquez and Popeye Barron worked with the Arellano Felix Organization. And there was a whole squad of Logan Heights gangsters working as enforcers directly for the AFO in Tijuana with the permission of the Big Homies.
And, of course, there was Chata Leon in Northeast running her narco organization more along the lines of a Cartel Op as opposed to the standard SOP of Surenos.
And now this Florencia/La Familia alliance. The shotcaller on this side of the border appears to be Arturo Tablas Castellanos. As the diligent student knows, Tablas hasn't been on the streets since 1979 but you can't keep an enterprising Homie from conducting his business merely by housing him in the SHU at the Bay.
According to what the press reported, something like $150K changed hands to allow La Familia operators to work with Florencia. Not a huge amount by Cartel standards but significant by Sureno standards. On the streets and the Bay, this is big cubic money. Enough to buy you an entire neighborhood. Or a hunger strike.
Tablas was involved in the much celebrated SHU hunger strike. The usual suspects in the press presented this as a prison rights and human rights issue. In fact, it was a street-control and lines of communications issue. Controlling a dope enterprise from the SHU is not impossible. But it is a pain. Housing in the mainline makes communication a lot easier and you can have real time information delivered and transmitted to keep the troops energized, informed and on top of their game.
We noticed that the day the Federal indictment was issued and named Tablas as an un-indicted co-conspirator, the hunger strike story completely disappeared from the news. Coincidence? We think not.
What was interesting was that Tablas got shot callers from the three other prison gangs to go along with the strike. You have to wonder if some of that $150 was used as a deposit to those other prison gangs to get them on board with the hunger strike. The deal being, that this down payment was only a taste of what was to come from the streets if they helped Tablas get out of the SHU. Pure speculation on our part, but this is something that came up in conversation here in the bunker as we drank coffee, discussed possible scenarios and fielded phone calls from active and retired individuals on both sides of the law.
The question for the curious to ponder is this: When the Eme initiates a merger or a working arrangement with a Cartel, what form does the resulting hybrid entity take?
The two entities have historically been different in style, operational tempo, operational methods, organizational structure and, significantly, the level of violence employed to further their goals. Does this signal a possible change in the Eme's horizontal organizational structure to emulate their Southern partners in crime? Or does the cartel operate in the more decentralized model of the Eme? Will the neighborhoods involved shift alliances over time from the Big Homies that came out of those neighborhoods or will they abandon the usual neighborhood loyalty and start waving the Cartel flag?
Just something to think about. Feel free to comment intelligently and, as always, the comments are moderated so no net banging.