Tuesday, March 18, 2008


It is hard to pick up a newspaper and not read about some reporter being found out about the story that he wrote was plagiarized. Is this a sign of the times? In my book I wrote about the news media persons who we allowed to visit our trailer operation. They were indeed few, but they had integrity to tell the stories we gave them. They were factual and sometimes these same persons were allowed to talk to our informants. These persons spent enough time with us to know what we had going on was an honest attempt at bringing down this new phenomenon known as the Mexican Mafia.

We never told them what to write, or asked to see their drafts of the stories. The persons from which I speak of are Joe Ramirez formally from television station KNBC, Steve Mallory, and the late Don Harris. There was one other that wrote stories for Reader's Digest, Nathan Adams.

Don Harris produced a video in 1974, entitled the PRISON GANGS. This film was a reality look at the Mexican Mafia. This film later became a training film for officers involved in fighting the prison gangs. This film also won several awards including the Peabody Award from Columbia University. Steve Mallory did another video on 1976 on another prison gang known as the Nuestra Familia. This also was one of the best documentaries on this gang that I have seen to date.

Joe Ramirez reported stories about this gangs on live television that he researched as a reporter for KNBC. These were also of the best quality.

Sure there are a few writers today with this same integrity. Two that come to mind are Chris Blatchford, and Bill Richardson from Tempe, Arizona.

I have recently read some stories written by others and for the most part was accurate. I have let those writers know that what they had written on the Mexican Mafia were right on.

The bottom line is that the news media can be an effective tool for law enforcement; but one just has to be cautious as to whom they trust with the story.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


This story is a request from my son and a couple other persons who feel this story should be told.

Don Harris was a brilliant story writer and video producer of the best prison gang documentary that has come out to date. He had an understanding of mankind both good and bad. Don was very forthright and when I first met him he laid it on the line. He said that he had heard about the Task Force operations and wanted to do a story about the inmates in prison and in free society. He said that he would appreciate working with us, but that he would do the story without our help, but wanted to get the facts straight.

We checked out his credentials which were impeccable. We decided to allow him access to our files and interview our informants. We also took him inside the prisons and down to Tijuana to interview Joe Morgan’s crime partner, Harry Gamboa Buckley. (Buckley refused to be interviewed, but Don was satisfied with our attempts.)

We worked on other stories with him and became good friends. Don told us about a madman preacher that had taken his congregation to Guyana where he felt that he would not be pursued nor persecuted. Don said that Congressman Leo Ryan had received letters from family members of preacher Jim Jones that complained that their relatives were being abused. Congressman Ryan decided to go to Guyana to check out the story, and asked Don if he would care to join him.

Don was telling this in front of Chief Jon Elder who felt this could be a very dangerous assignment and told me to give Don my bullet proof vest.

We later learned from newspaper accounts that upon arrival in Guyana, they were met at the airport by armed guards who escorted them to see Jim Jones. They apparently talked to a few members of the congregation, but could feel the tension in the air. As they were leaving, a car followed them back to the airport. As they were about to enter their plane, the men that had followed them suddenly and without warning shot all of them. Don may have survived the shooting, but to make sure they were dead, they shot Don in the head with a shotgun.

After this, the men returned to Jim Jones who was sitting at the table making sure that his entire congregation, 908 members were drinking the cyanide laced kool-aid that he had prepared. Jim Jones then killed himself by using a gun.

The real tragedy here was that this madman took away at the tender age of 42, one of the kindest, brilliant men that I had the honor of knowing. RIP