Monday, September 8, 2008

What is most enlightening in this production by NPR, is that as a society we've handed the keys to the inmates.....once again we've seemed to have lost sight  of the fact that the Constitution isn't a suicide pact....

.....Pelican Bay was designed to break the gangs. But locked down in isolation, Enriquez and his cohort remained defiant. They concocted simple but effective communication networks. They passed messages through visitors and legal mail — mail that guards aren't allowed to read. They taught themselves exotic dialects and American Sign Language to fool prison staff. And they thrived in a culture of impunity.....
A secret to Enriquez's success was his transforming punishing isolation into a sort of sanctuary. Rival gangs couldn't get to him, and most cops and prosecutors thought their job was already done. After all, Enriquez was serving two life sentences. The prison couldn't do much more to punish him. But lifers have time to think and scheme.......Drug profits flowed to prison. Drug dealers on the street sent checks and money orders to gang leaders behind bars, under the noses of California prison staff. Enriquez and his associates socked away tens of thousands of dollars. He invested in bank CDs and government bonds. The accounts were only frozen after he defected.
"And we already had it planned out that California would be carved up … into slices, with each member receiving an organizational turf," he says.....
The Mexican mafia's campaign against drive-by shootings had another benefit: good PR. "They saw that as a way into being more respectable, in the eyes of sympathetic do-gooders, city leaders, church leaders," author Blatchford says......

Listen Now [13 min 49 sec] add to playlist
This is part one of a two-part report.
Rene Enriquez
Courtesy of Rene Enriquez
Rene Enriquez's most prominent tattoo is a black hand on his chest, a symbol of the Mexican mafia.

Revealing Secrets

Rene Enriquez's meetings with officials were videotaped. He explains to police the organizational structure of the Mexican mafia, how inmates circumvent security measures in prison visiting rooms, and how money is laundered. Watch the video.
Rene Enriquez in 2007
Courtesy of Rene Enriquez
Enriquez, in leg irons, waiting for a 2007 meeting with law enforcement agents.
All Things Considered,September 6, 2008 · The life of a high-level mobster is a staple of books and Hollywood films. But most real-life gang leaders don't tell their stories. The code of silence runs deep; breaking that code can be fatal. That's especially true if the mobster is behind bars.
But one former leader of the Mexican mafia — a violent group formed in California's prisons — did just that.
Rene Enriquez, nicknamed Boxer, who once killed for the gang and also ordered the deaths of men and women in prison and on the streets of Los Angeles, ended up opening his life to the police and sharing many of the organization's secrets.
When he decided to defect in 2002, Enriquez became the highest-level Mexican mafia leader to work with the cops.  MORE....


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