Thursday, September 19, 2013
How Imprisoned Mexican Mafia Leader Exerts Secret Control Over LA Street Gangs
KQED — Running a criminal organization while locked inside one of America's most secure prisons requires imagination, cunning and ruthlessness. It also demands a firm set of rules and a way to impose them on operatives on the streets, often violent and obstreperous gang members.
A secret letter allegedly sent from an inmate at Pelican Bay State Prison in Northern California to members of Florencia 13, a multi-generational street gang in south Los Angeles, details a covert network that has enriched the state’s most powerful prison gang, the Mexican Mafia.
The note was originally written in tiny script on a small scrap of paper known as a “kite,” smuggled out of Pelican Bay, recopied and then distributed to street gang members, according to federal prosecutors who are using it as evidence in a major crackdown in Los Angeles.
The letter outlines rules, or reglas, drawn up by Mexican Mafia members for associates operating on the streets. They include:
How street gangs and their sub-groups are governed, including the election of a president and vice president by “majority votes.”
How drug sales, prostitution and other illegal activities are organized and “taxed,” with a percentage going to gang leaders behind bars.
How disputes are settled.
How assaults and murders are authorized.
How snitches and sex offenders are rooted out and punished. continue reading...