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  1. ElDiablo

    The Paisa Car

    "The Paisa Car" or "The Paisa Ranfla" can be described as an alliance between several Mexican National prison gangs from which the majority of its memberships are composed of arrested drug mules, illegal immigrants and "Coyotes", also known as "Polleros" (human traffickers across the border). The main organizations that are in the "paisa alliance" are the Border Brothers Prison Gang, Paisa 16 Prison Gang, Tango Paisa Mexicles and the PRM. The paisas are also commonly known for operating under the structure of the Sinaloa Cartel with the exception of Barrio Azteca. But the paisas from Texas could also operate for the Gulf Area cartel groups and the same could happen for paisas that come from Tijuana which could have been operating under the Arellano Felix structure. The paisa prison gangs are complex and their numbers run deep in the federal system due to the nature of their crimes. Border Brothers Prison Gang The Border Brothers gang was founded in 1989 by Sergio Gonzalez-Martinez and others in Tijuana, Mexico and spread into San Andreas in 1990; recruiting criminal illegal immigrants in barrios across San Andreas, Arizona, Nevada, Denver and Tijuana Mexico. The organization runs the bulk of their operations through San Diego, Los Santos, Fresno and Oakland. The Border Brothers will often identify themselves through the letters BB or the number 22; as well as 2=B or XXII. It’s also not uncommon to see the depiction of a jaguar-shaped Aztec warrior god’s head, Ocelotl, encircled by flames, with eight elongated flames to depict their affiliation. Their clothing is another means to identify them, where members will most often dress in black or blue clothes, with bandanas. The Border Brothers are classified as one of the fastest growing STGs (Security Threat Groups), and are considered to have the highest and most validated members by the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Re-entry from their latest report. As such, they seem to work under two distinct branches: street and prison. The prison gang operates under a paramilitary structure of President, Vice President, generals, lieutenants, sergeants and soldiers, whilst the street gangs are more loosely organized. Some of the most important things that separates Border Brothers from other Latino criminal organizations is their utilization of a high number of “Paisas”; Mexican Nationals who live or become incarcerated in the US, usually on drug trafficking charges across country borders. This allowed the organization to operate under the radar by generating less controversy compared to Sureños and Norteños. This is achieved by staying quiet in the criminal sphere, keeping strictly to themselves, only speaking Spanish and not claiming territory (Pogrebin, Qualitative Approaches to Criminal Justice: Perspectives from the Field, 2002, Page 306). In regard to race, an article published by East Bay Times (Scott Johnson, May 2011) states that the Border Brothers tend to accept people of all races. An “OG” (original gangster) Border Brother was documented stating the following: “We don’t discriminate, if they’re down to die for us, they’re welcome. It doesn’t matter if he’s black or white, anything. But if you turn your back on us, that’s another story.” Pogrebin also quotes another testimony stating the following: “The Border Brothers don’t want to have anything to do with Sureños-Norteños. They keep out of that ‘cause it’s not our fighting and all of that is stupid... Either you are a Chicano or you’re not. There is no sense of being separated (Case 3).” (Qualitative Approaches to Criminal Justice: Perspectives from the Field, 2002, Page 306) P16 Prison Gang The paisas 16 are mostly composed of Mexican Nationals who were arrested while crossing the border into the United States illegally. The majority of them are not into criminal activity in the West Coast but they do operate as a gang in Texas under the "Tango Mexicles" banner. In the union, members refer to themselves as "paisano" or just "paisa". Their affiliation is considered "light" (strictly to prison) and their initiation requirements vary from each facility. The gang was mainly formed to seek independence from what they perceived as "negative" prison gangs that operated under the "blood in-blood out" vision which states that the only way to leave the gang is by death. Although their major strenght resides within the federal prison system of the United States, it is also believed that members from the "Mexicles Union" have presence in many other states and that their membership could go from 20,000 to 23,000 validated individuals. In the state of Texas they formed their own "Tango" chapter known as "Tango Mexicles" and a lot of its members are Salvadoran, Colombian, Guatemalan and Honduran amongst other Latin-Americans. The number 16 represents the letter P of the alphabet and members of the gang might wear some Mexican culture tattoos such as the Mexican eagle, the Mexican coat of arms or the "Hecho en México" (Made in Mexico) official commercial logo eagle as well as the portraits of Mexico's Independence heroes with the likes of Emiliano Zapata and Francisco Villa. PRM (Partido Revolucionario Mexicano) The PRM was founded in 1987-1988 in TDCJ’s Coffield Unit by six inmates who wanted to protect themselves from other offenders and prison groups. Until 1994, the PRM was comprised of only Mexican nationals and individuals of Mexican descent. After 1994, recruitment was opened to individuals of Latin descent from Central and South America. In July 2005, TDCJ formally identified the PRM as an STG. Members of the PRM identify themselves as “Borrachos.” The PRM tattoo often incorporates the letters "PRM" and/or the emblem on the Mexican flag (i.e., eagle, snake, cactus, and half wreath). The words "Estados Unidos Mexicanos" may be added above the eagle. The number “6” is a code number used to identify membership (Note: There are six letters in the word “Mexico” and “Mezcal”) and the tattoo “P31” is also used (“R” is the 18th letter of the alphabet and “M” is the 13th letter; thus “P” + 18 + 13 = P31). In addition, since the group has used the word “borracho” (Spanish for “drunk”) to denote membership, some members may bear a tattoo of a Mexican male sitting on the ground, wearing a sombrero tilted forward, with a bottle of Mezcal or Tequila in his hand or beside him. Tangos The Tangos are one of the fastest growing groups in Texas, both within the prison system and on the streets, and are attaining near fad status. The term “Tango” is derived from Spanish slang and indicates a “town or hometown clique”. The term also refers to the letter T in the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, commonly known as the NATO phonetic alphabet or the ICAO phonetic alphabet to indicate that the group operates in the whole of Texas. Membership is usually voluntary and based on the geographic location where the offender resides. The rules governing Tango membership are less stringent than those required for STGs, which have historically adhered to a “blood in-blood out” philosophy. Tangos also abide by an existing set of basic written rules that specifically outline the expectations of their members. The Tangos and their behavior within the prison system are more consistent with other self-protection groups; however, the Tangos have also evolved into groups that, because of their large numbers, have successfully challenged the more established STGs. Presently, TDCJ’s Security Threat Group Management Office monitors the Tango groups, but does not recognize them as a validated STG. The four largest Tango groups, known collectively as the “Four Horsemen,” are “Houstone” from Houston; “D-Town” from Dallas; “Foritos” from Fort Worth; and “ATX” or “Capirucha” from Austin. Other Tango groups include the “Vallucos” from the Rio Grande Valley; the West Texas Tangos (WTX) from West Texas and the Texas Panhandle; “Corpitos” from Corpus Christi; “San Anto” or “Orejones” from San Antonio; and “EPT” from El Paso. Some Tangos may also identify themselves as being “Tango Blast” (TB), which is not so much a separate organization as it is an indication that the offender has participated in heightened criminal activity on behalf of the organization. The term “blasting” refers to involvement in violent or disruptive criminal behavior against other gang members or criminal justice personnel, particularly inside the Texas prison system. Most Tangos who claim TB membership come from the Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston areas. Tango structure and leadership vary in and out of prison. Within the prison system, Tangos elect a representative for each unit, known as a “Spokesman,” as well as a designated speaker for each pod, wing, or dorm who reports directly to the Spokesman. Outside of prison, the Tango groups appear to be more loosely organized. They operate in small groups and cells without a well-defined structure or identified leader. Tangos are involved in a variety of criminal activity, including auto theft, burglaries, narcotics trafficking, illegal alien smuggling, home invasions, robberies, kidnappings, and homicide—all offenses that have historically been committed by STGs. Furthermore, as a result of technological advancements and easier access to automated information, law enforcement can expect to see an increase in a wide variety of computer-related crimes by the newer and technologically-savvy gang members, including identity theft, fraud, and other financial crimes. The Internet has also provided gangs an avenue of communication and self-promotion that has not been available to them in the past. With the younger generation’s increasing attraction to living the “Thug Life” or becoming a “G,” these groups will continue to pose a legitimate threat to the public, law enforcement, and criminal justice personnel at all levels. Tango members can be identified by their tattoos, which usually depict a hometown sports team and/or the team logo, a city skyline, area code numbers representing their hometowns, or the slang term for their hometown. Tangos who claim to be TB members may also use the tattoo “16-20-2” to represent the 16th, 20th, and 2nd letters of the alphabet, or “PTB,” which stands for “Puro Tango Blast.” The Paisa Tango Mexicles was formed in the Texas prison system by a group of Mexican nationals and immigrants who banded together to protect themselves from being recruited or assaulted by other STGs. Although members of this gang may be tattooed with the word “Mexicle” or “Mexicles,” the term is not used exclusively by them. The word “Mexicle” is a term used to describe a Mexican citizen and thus is sometimes found in tattoos worn by members of other gangs, such as the Partido Revolucionario Mexicano (PRM).
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