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Mexican Mafia Roleplay Guide


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I.    History





The Mexican Mafia (EME) began its formative period between 1957-1969. The initial steps were taken by then 17 year-old Luis ‘Huero Buff’ Flores from Hawaiian Gardens who alongside fellow imprisoned gang members created the ‘gang of gangs’. The initial vision that served as the motivation behind the Mexican Mafia was to control the black market within the prison system. By the 1960s, the inmates identified as being irreformable were graduated from DVI (Deuel Vocational Institution) to San Quentin Prison, the aim behind this move was to incorporate YA (Youth Authority) prisoners alongside hardened, Adult prisoners to serve as a deterrent for these youth offenders to change their ways. This however did not work and soon after touching down at San Quentin, Jesus ‘Liro’ Pedroza and Eddie ‘Potato Nose’ Loera made their introductions by stabbing to death two convicts. These would become the first two recorded homicides of the Mexican Mafia.


CDC intelligence refers to the December of 1961 as ‘Black December’ as it is during this time where the Mexican Mafia began taking significant strides to consolidate themselves as a newly formed Hispanic prison gang within San Quentin prison. During this time, 4 inmates and 1 prison guard are murdered by members of the Mexican Mafia. With various killings of Whites, Blacks and Hispanics to follow over the next decade.




By the 1970-1984, the Mexican Mafia began extending their sphere of influence outside prison walls. The cause behind this was attributed to the Senate Bill (SB-42) which resulted in mass releases of hundreds, including several members of the Mexican Mafia who were released directly from the SHU (Secure Housing Units). This now meant that influential members were now able to ‘Spread the EME gospel’ which with time proved that the strategies deployed by the Mexican Mafia to exert control and influence on the inside could be just as effectively translated on the outside. Over this time, EME essentially would become a household name within Southern California neighborhoods. The mention of EME or the Mexican Mafia would generate real fear as news accounts and stories circulated of the violence the prison gang demonstrated. It was also during this time when the initial EME heroin pipelines began to appear which was pioneered by Joe ‘Peg Leg’ Morgan. It was also during the 1970s-1984 when the Mexican Mafia became well known within the criminal underground beyond their original confines of prison, which again was attributed primarily to their hands-on approach to violence.


This aggressive expansion to the exteriors of the prison structure led to creating a significant impression on the consciousness of Southern California gang members who then became known as ‘Sureños’ (Southerners). It’s important to also note that due to the efforts undertaken by the EME members during this era, a key framework/foundation was created for the next generation of members to capitalise on and take charge, the steps undertaken during this time laid the ground works for the Mexican Mafia to directly exploit the manpower of Sureño gangs which is in the tens of thousands as a resource to further their own development and influence.





II.   ae69d7067ef9ea974b6594297755b315.jpg Drive-Bys


Violence in Los Angeles during the early 1990s was incredibly high, and primarily drive-by shootings served as a key cause of concern for many and served as a direct source of inflicting damage to many innocent women, children and elderly that were caught in the crossfire between Sureño gang wars. The primary concern however behind this was the unwanted media attention it generated for EME. Due to this, it was decided that drive-bys will no longer be tolerated.


On September 18, 1992 - a large-scale meeting was held at Elysian park in LA sponsored by EME where over 2,000 Sureño gang members came in attendance. The rules of the meeting were simple, all attendees were to come unarmed, and no attendee would engage in any gang violence before, during or after the meeting. The rules laid out however were not followed by one member of the Opal Street gang who came armed with a pistol. A carnal by the name of Ernest ‘Chuco’ Castro approached the offender in front of all the attendees and proceeded to slap him and take away his firearm. On the back of this action, the Opal Street gang remains greenlit.

This direction served multiple motives, it took away the unwanted attention placed on EME and it demonstrated the control and power EME had over the street gangs under it. After this meeting, murder rates in LA dropped significantly.





III.    Taxation



Taxation in the way it’s done now was initially instigated by Peter ‘Sana’ Ojeda, in 1992, Sana who is considered an influential carnal held meetings with gang leaders and members across Orange County where he enforced a truce between Sureños within his territory. After aligning the truce between long-time rivals, Sana moved onto the collecting of taxes from the gangs within his turf. Further to this, the structure of this arrangement was established through ‘reps’ who served as a go-between for the Sureño gangs and EME. The reps would serve multiple functions, the key being;


- Collect drug sales/territorial taxes
- Act as enforcers for EME.
- Serve as a communication line between Sureño gangs and EME.
- Establish a vertical leadership structure.


It is however important to note that the taxation structure varied, some Carnales demanded tax and tribute from gangs itself that operated within their designated turfs, the regularity of payments also varied from weekly to monthly. There was nor is any specific format that is deployed to govern how a Carnal would conduct their business inside their turf.


The initial exercise of halting drive-bys segwayed directly into the taxation which fundamentally became a ‘cash cow’ for EME and demonstrated the willingness thousands of Sureños had to comply with EME’s authority and demands.




IV.    Greenlights


A greenlight/lista are individuals and gangs that are placed on a list targeting them for death. It is expected that anyone greenlighted is targeted by all sureño gangs who are then ordered to attack and kill them on sight in both jail and on the streets. The typical way a greenlight is approached is dependent upon the reasoning behind the greenlight was issued, however if a gang violates an edict issued by EME, then the process is typically to kill the direct offenders of the edict and maintain the greenlight on the gang until the gang approaches its EME rep or a carnal to make amendments for their violation. More often than not, these sanctions are resolved through additional EME taxes which allow offenders to get a pass by the carnal.


V.    Rules of the Mexican Mafia

The Mexican Mafia has several rules in place to safeguard the integrity of the organisation and its members, however more often than not these rules are broken and serve merely as guidelines in the current day. EME reglas (rules) are never written on paper.


1. A member must not be a rat.
2. A member may not be a homosexual.
3. A member may not be a coward.
4. A member may not have sex with the wife or girlfriend of another member.
5. A member may not raise his hand against another member without sanction from the organisation.
6. A member may not politick against another member or cause dissent within the organisation.
7. A member may not steal from or encroach upon the turf of another member.
8. Membership is for life.
9. EME comes first, even before one’s family.


VI.    Cultural Influence



A key propeller behind the Mexican Mafia and La Causa (The EME Cause) is attributed to the importance placed on Hispanic and Aztec cultures. The foundations of many early street gangs such as; White Fence, Temple Street, Clanton Street, Canta Ranas, 38th Street and Hawaiian Gardens all identified strongly with ancient Toltec and Aztec indians as well as the Yaquis and Apaches. The inspiration from these cultures became a source of ethnic pride for these individuals who perceived themselves as ‘street warriors’. These closely knit, proud cultures further reinforced the community themed gangs who served as a form of ‘extended family’ for its members. Furthermore, around this time the aforementioned warrior mentality was appealing to Mexican-American communities during WW2, especially in the case of those Men who served in the war, however for those who held criminal mindsets - this warrior mentality further reinforced and developed their ‘code of conduct’ which fundamentally governed the original street gang culture adopted by Hispanics in Los Angeles.


Due to this significance placed in Aztecs and other ancient cultures, EME deploys an array of imagery and vocabulary to demonstrate their affiliation with this warrior culture. Mexican Mafia members have been known to study Nahuatl, which is an ancient language of the Aztec people as well as use the Mayan numeral system. This is not only done to show allegiance to the Mexican Mafia but also to communicate in a covert manner. It is common to hear inmates at Pelican Bay SHU and other maximum security housing facilities teaching each other these languages. The primary reason behind it’s widespread deployment is that very rarely would correctional/judiciary officers be able to understand what is being said.




VII.    Criminal Activities


Aside from the revenue streams generated through the taxation of sureño gangs, EME is involved heavily within drug trafficking, extortion, gambling, prostitution and murder. Due to the structural nature of the organisation, many of these activities are conducted by camaradas who in turn pay their own taxes to a carnal for conducting any criminal activity in their turf. A key area as mentioned earlier for EME is drug trafficking, by establishing heroin pipelines in the late 70s, the foundations established by the earlier generations continue to be a source of revenue for EME with various operations darted across East Los Angeles primarily to process heroin and meth.



VIII.     Leadership Structure


From the early beginnings of EME, the recruitment policy was to recruit the ‘cream of the crop’ At the beginning stages of the Mexican Mafia, the new recruits brought in were veteran gang leaders who were unaccustomed to taking direct orders, realising this, Huero Buff understood that appointing himself as the direct leader would subject EME to infighting, politicking and power-plays which would only serve to weaken the organisation especially during its early stages. Therefore, the leadership structure of EME was crafted to where all members/carnales were equals and awarded a vote on matters that concerned EME as a whole.


The leadership structure is horizontal with no direct leader overseeing the organisation as a whole, with all carnales being ‘equal’ and awarded the same vote as one another. This however is further covered in the power dynamics section which explains the informal hierarchy that exists.



IX.    Power Dynamics


Although the leadership structure of EME is horizontal with no leader on the top to oversee the organisation as a whole, infor92e4a2b2a43a0ca991f57a940335f6d9.jpgmal hierarchies do exist within the organisation. The term used for this is ‘juice/jugo’ which essentially refers to the level of influence and power a carnal holds within the organisation. The level of ‘juice’ a carnal has is subjective to their political acumen, intelligence and diplomatic maneuvering which determines how they’re positioned within the organisation. If a carnal with a lot of power and influence proposes someone for membership, then more than likely that individual will get welcomed in despite any concerns other members without as much power/influence may have. An example of this is seen in the case of Pelon Maciel who was sponsored for membership by Huero Shy in 1995, despite all present for the vote not knowing who he was, Pelon was voted in and made a carnal.


Another example of ‘juice’ is seen in the case of Huero Buff who engaged in consensual sex with the wife of another member within EME. For any normal member, they would’ve been executed for such an infraction however due to the influence and power held by Huero Buff, he suffered no sanction for this.



X.    Carnales/EMERO’s


An EMERO or a carnal is a made member of the Mexican Mafia. Typically, these individuals have proven their loyalty to the organisation and have been sponsored for membership by another, existing member of the organisation who is in good standing. The individual who nominated the new member serves as the ‘padrino’ for the newly made carnal and is expected to explain all the rules, and the newly made member is expected to memorise them. Once the individual has become a Carnal, they’re free to operate and conduct their business anywhere where a Carnal is not already operating.




The demeanor and personality of these individuals vary drastically, more often than not there is drug and substance abuse involved - however as any individual their characteristics, personalities, demeanours is all contingent upon their own beliefs, morals and life experiences. However, despite this - it’s important to note that becoming a Carnal is a major event and is a source of pride for most of these individuals, as such their personalities and demeanors may adapt based on this newfound status. No shoe fits all, and as such - you will find the Carnales having drastically different personalities, some may be more strict and aggressive with a more imposing personality whereas others may be more laid back and polite. Drug abuse is also a common area under-represented in roleplay which is something that everyone needs to consider when roleplaying characters like this, in specific heroin abuse. The level of intelligence, political acumen (as discussed in power dynamics) and other variables are all contingent upon the development of your character, as stated across various interviews pertaining to the Mexican Mafia, the Carnales significantly varied in their approach to conflicts, issues as well as how they presented themselves. Their level of knowledge, vocabulary and other aspects of life also varied based on this information.


  189cd50cf34487b3addbcee2aa635192.jpg  Induction Process


Currently, a three-member rule is used by the Mexican Mafia when inducting new members. The three-member rule requires a minimum of three (including the sponsor) made Carnales to vote an individual into EME. If other members are present at the location (I.E Pelican Bay SHU), then they must all participate in the voting process. The reason behind this is to minimise corruption within the induction system and limit politicking/power plays amongst Carnales. If any single member was to vote against the potential member, then the vote would be thrown out and the individual would not become a Carnal.




Symbolism is incredibly important in EME, and to the trained eye -  the tattoos of an individual can tell you exactly who someone is and where they are from. As such, being a Carnal is a source of pride and the tattoos would serve as a source through which the individuals are openly tied to the organisation. Carnales may choose to represent their affiliation in simplistic manners through small tattoos saying M, EME, LA M or alternatively use the black hand and other forms of symbolism. Despite the fact that there is a rule in the organisation to never admit its existence, the tattoo culture within the organisation acts as a direct contradiction to those rules.




XI.    Camaradas/Soldados


Camaradas are Sureños who have put in work for the Mexican Mafia/Carnales and are elevated to become a Camarada/Soldado. You do not have to be a Sureño to become a Camarada, in fact Norteños can also become Camaradas, and there are many Carnales who are also Norteños, however the distinction needs to be made between a Norteño and a member of the Nuestra Familia (NF).


A Camarada is an individual who is willing to kill and die for EME without any question or hesitation. At times referred to as ‘expendables’, they are expected to openly accept the possibility of facing life sentences, death rows and even going on ‘kamikaze hits’ or ‘suicide missions’ for EME. They are tested, tried and trusted soldiers and friends of EME. For Sureños wanting to make an impression with EME, they would need to establish themselves in the criminal underworld to become Camaradas which then would serve as the first step in them being potentially inducted into EME. It is important to note that very few Camaradas actually complete the circle of being inducted into EME, with many perishing in political clashes amongst Carnales and ‘house cleanings’ in which internal purges take place.


A Camarada would carry out several activities on the streets and in jail for Carnales and also conduct their own business from which typically they would pay taxes to the Carnale within who’s turf they’re operating. The type of work these Camaradas can do varies, from robberies, extortion, murder to various rackets such as illegal gambling and prostitution - the criminal activities that Camaradas take part in are vast.




The hierarchy of an atypical EME crew would be as follows for a Carnal who is incarcerated. The figurehead of the crew would be the Carnal, beneath him there would be a ‘facilitator’ who usually would be the wife, girlfriend or relative of the Carnal as they would have easier means of communicating with them as well as natural trust. Beneath the facilitator is the Camarada who communicates solely with the Carnal and the facilitator. Beneath the Camarada, there is a crew leader who are individuals selected by Camaradas to enforce, collect payments and distribute narcotics. Beneath the crew chiefs are the crew members who are workers, dealing drugs and conducting other criminal activities in their respective gang territories. The ultimate authority lies with the Carnal, however if the Carnal is incarcerated then the authority by proxy is with the Camarada. As the lower echelon of these crews will never interact with the higher levels such as the facilitator or the Carnal, and the higher levels wouldn’t want to interact with the lower ones due to fear of information being divulged to law enforcement - the Camaradas act as a sort of firewall and intermediary between the two and are of significant importance.


These crews are not isolated to one, a carnal can have multiple crews. The range of the crews is also vast, for example Rene ‘Boxer’ Enriquez from Artesia California was not solely operating in Artesia, he was allowed to operate anywhere that a Carnal is not already operating/is not already claimed by a Carnal. This means that any area without the presence of a Carnal is free-game, a Carnal can establish a crew anywhere they deem necessary. In the case of Boxer, he operated in; Riverside, Lennox, Victorville, Norwalk, Haiwaiian gardens, Artesia, and North-East LA, with different crews. These crews can also extend to prisons.

It is also important to note that typically, a Carnal who is incarcerated would not always be the highest paying member of these crews. The reasoning behind this is if a Carnal wishes to achieve a successful crew without micromanagement, then he would need to ensure that everyone is earning money and has the autonomy to function without the need of micromanagement. For a Carnal who is not incarcerated, logic will deduce that the income they receive would be higher in comparison to the Carnales who are.





XII.    Señoras



Women play a critical role in the structure of EME, and have successfully done so for the larger part of the organisation's history. The role Women have played has successfully served as a form of insulation from law enforcement, and has halted many law enforcement investigations and prosecutions of Carnales. Within an atypical EME crew, the role of the Señora is second only to the Carnal. The nature of these relationships varied, with some Señoras being openly aware of their involvement within EME activity, others being somewhat aware and some being completely kept in the dark and expected to be loyal. Señoras are the wives and girlfriends of Carnales within the Mexican Mafia.


The typical activities they would be involved in would be facilitating, communicating as well as being the end-point for most of the funds extracted by the crews of the Carnal. There are many examples of these activities taking place, however a more recent example is seen through Danny ‘Popeye’ Roman who was an incarcerated Carnal and a leader of the Harpys 13 gang. Popeye’s daughter, Vianna managed her father’s business in the streets and acted as a facilitator between him and his crew, relaying orders to underlings to extort, assault and kill. Vianna pleaded guilty in 2014 to racketeering, drug trafficking and firearms offenses and is currently serving a 15 year prison sentence.








The Mexican Mafia Encylopedia, 2nd edition. - Ramon Mendoza & Rene Enriquez

The Black Hand - Rene Enriquez

Case 2:16-CR-00390-RGK, Document 2940-3.






Edited by Vulcar
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