Sunday, June 29, 2008

Where's My Car ?

Probably one of the most facinating informants that we had at the Prison Gang Task Force was an associate of the Aryan Brotherhood by the name of Jimmy. He is in my book. I didn't tell everything about each of the various prison gang members or the book would have contained 3 or 4 times the pages. Besides being a demolition expert, he was also a car thief.

He told us about a scam that the Aryan Brotherhood had put together back in the late 1960's, early 1970's. Here is how he discribed it. The Aryan Brotherhood members had a tow truck and had two of those magnetic signs, one on each side of the doors. The sign had the initials AB Towing. (Now if that is not original, nothing is). Jimmy said that the driver would drive around towns looking for the big heaviest vehicles he could find such as Buicks, Cadillacs or Oldsmobiles parked on the street. The driver would simply back up the tow truck to the vehicle and hook it up to the tow truck and drive away.

Jimmy said that the driver would take it to the Long Beach or San Pedro salvage junk yard near the port where old automobiles were dismanteled and turned back into steel or shipped over seas. Jimmy said that before it was taken inside the yard, the driver would check the inside of the car and the trunks. Sometimes the driver would find money, guns and even drugs. The driver would then take out a hammer and break the windows and dent the car to make it look like junk. The license plates had also been removed...moco

Monday, June 23, 2008


I was just thinking about how in the beginning, (1972-78) we were involved in training not only other law enforcement agencies, but also in some of the prisons in California. We were not only in the fore-front, but we were also in the learning stages ourselves. We were fortunate to have some of the best people helping us out. People like the late Bill Hankins, "SMOKEY" Thomas, Captain Thompson and Warden Jake Gunn from Folsom Prison. There were other prison personnel too numerous to name. We also had the help of the late "Tony" Casas, Danny Vasquez and Don Elder. We also had the leadership of the "Admiral" Joe Moody. Remember it was his Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (DALE) partner, Richard "Moe" Moreno, the "Pacman's" cousin that wrote the federal grant that took us from the stone age to the modern age, with a working place (trailer) that housed us in. Most of this is in the book, however, for those that haven't read it, they can trace a part of history that may or may not have been told to them.

The main focus of this article is to advise all those in the criminal justice field of one of the outstanding associations that exists, the INTERNATIONAL LATINO GANG INVESTIGATORS ASSOCIATION. I would be remiss if I left out some of the others as they too are also fine associations. The ones that I have been associated with are in alphabetical order, ARIZONA GANG INVESTIGATORS ASSOCIATION, (AGIA) the CALIFORNIA GANG INVESTIGATORS ASSOCIATION (CGIA), the SECURITY THREAT INTELLIGENCE NETWORK on GANGS(S.T.I.N.G.) out of Colorado, and the TEXAS GANG INVESTIGATORS ASSOCIATION (TGIA).

The ILGIA has been fortunate to have had two of the best presidents in the business, "Gabe" Morales who got it started, and now Nelson Arriaga. With all these resources, I would find it hard to believe that there is a reason that some of those in the criminal justice field should be in the dark about what is going on with street gangs and those in prison gangs. The info is out there for the asking. A lot of the different states have set up similar training sessions, and those that haven't it behooves those in these fields to advise their departments to see if they can be sent to one or more of these training sessions ... Moco

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


A dear friend of mine, retired LASD Sergeant Richard Valdemar,recently wrote an article in the POLICE MAGAZINE about an informant nicknamed "Spider" from Varrio White Fence. It is a shame that what happened to this informant due to the lack of empathy on the part of some cops that were APPARENTLY not trained properly, at least in my opinion.

Any cop worth his salt, knows that a good informant is worth his weight in gold. Again, it is up to the cop to set the parameters of what his informant does or doesn't do. Of course, there are good and not so good informants, the good ones will be loyal, the others will go to te highest bidder even if the informant knows that the cop would sell him out.

We handled a mass of them during the early days of the Prison Gang Task Force and they told us of the other cops wanting to have the informant work for them. That is what I mean by loyalty.

Sure we had our share of informants that lied to us, but they didn't last long. On the other hand we had some that were more believable than a few cops that I knew over the years. Yes, they can be a pain in the ass and sometimes everything in their life appears to them as a major tragedy, when in fact it is only a minor set back.

I don't remember if there were any classes on HOW TO HANDLE AN INFORMANT or not, but it appears that in some departments, is is direly needed. Like Richard points out(paraphrasing),"a human life should be in the utmost of the cops mind when he uses the informant. I realize that this may sound basic to most cops, however, the proof is in the untimely death of what could possibly been prevented ... Moco

Saturday, June 7, 2008


As I am sitting at my computer going over some of the many emails that I receive (between 75-100 dailey) It just struck me, the Mexican Mafia will be 51 years old this December, according to the late Bill Hankins. Despite all the arrests, members dropping out, RICO's and death, this insideous gang is not going away, and like I have said many times in the past, it is getting larger, and like locusts spreading across America, and it is destroying many lives in it's path.

Every time a "shot caller" is taken down, someone steps up to take his place. No, the Mexican Mafia is not lacking for those who desire to climb the ladder of destruction, or recruiters to bring in more of their kind to continue their criminal acts.

Along these lines, we keep hearing stories from some of the drop-outs of things that they could not have possibly been involved in as they were not around during some of the time periods that they talk about. For example, during the numerous times that we surveilled Joe Morgan, and during the three times that I was present during his arrests, some of these drop-outs claim they were so close to him. We never saw them at any of the locations Joe Morgan had been followed to, nor were their names ever mention in any wire taps that we were asked, "do you know this name, or that name."

An interviewer has to know that some of these drop-outs embellish the story to make them appear more than they are. Sure, some of these drop-outs have valuable information, otherwise they would not have been selected by the investigators in the first place. I am just saying, "don't believe everything told to you, remember, the bottom lines is they are Mexican Mafia members and remain so until their demise. The Prison Gang Task Force was not exempt from some of these stories and got "sucker punched" on more than one occassion.

I can hear the critics now, "this is all well and good, but what is the solution to the problem?"

If I knew that, I could make a lot of money. We just have to keep chipping away, like the drug problem, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Monday, June 2, 2008


On May 15th, my dear friend and confident Clemente Rodriquez, drove me down to Laredo, Texas for the TEXAS VIOLENT GANG TASK FORCE meeting to be held the next day. (I can still visualize the movie of the same name. I also can see the actors, William Holden and William Bendix who played the part of Texas Rangers, walking the streets.) We stayed at the La Quinta Motel next to the airport. Clemente noticed a Bexar County Probation car outside our window. He felt that it was the one another good friend of ours drove, Roger Lozano. He was in fact in the room next to us. We visited for a while, then Clemente drove him and I to visit one of the best investigators in the Laredo District, Mario Soria. It had been about one year since I last saw him, but as usual, he hadn't changed much. Mario is a charmer, and I believe that is part of the reason he is able to be one of the best in the business. We met in one of Laredo's oldest Barrios at a bar. Mario explained that all around this bar lives members of various Prison Gang members such as the Mexican Mafia (Mexikanemi), Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos and others. Mario is the type of individuals that can go just about anywhere he chooses without fear of one of these listed people trying to take his life.
Eventhough the session was for one day only, it was a success. Another of my friends, Kerry Pople gave his talk on Prison Gangs, and he too is one of the best in the prison life of the various gangs behind the walls. We only had 10 books left from the previous order and they sold out in about an hour. All in all, it was areal good seminar.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


I had the pleasure of being in Las Vegas on the 5th, 6th and 7th of May for a two day training seminar put on by the City of Las Vegas Detention and Enforcement in conjuction with IGIA. One cannot say enough about the multi-billion dollar Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa. The food and hospitality was great, as was the presenters. I had an opportunity as did others in attendance to see the security, video cameras in action. This is something all involved in police work should see. These cameras, all digital can read the license plates in the parking areas as well as the casino players. It was something great to see. (This service was set up by my dear friend Mike "Poco Loco" Beringhele, who's is a friend of the security director, Mr. Jim Brown. Our President, Nelson Arriaga of the ILGIA has gone out of the way to find the best people to host our seminars, in this case it was Anthony Rodriguez. He also is one of the nicest cops to put on a uniform. (He works plain clothes). The presenters were top notch, as were the refreshments.
I also had the opportunity to meet several of those in attendance. Just to mention a few, Todd De Palma and his girlfriend Amelia, Antonio Rodriguez, William Dunn, Martha Salazar, Cisneros and his agents from Chihuahua, Mexico and many others.
I know a lot of the members cannot attend all our seminars, but they should try to go to as many as they can. I have attended as many as I can, and I have yet to be disappointed. Our next annual one will be in San Antonio, Texas in August 25/28. I will tell you this; please do try to make it. I can guarentee it will be well worth the trip. They are again lining up some of the best presenters in the business. I was in San Antonio for the last two weeks in May. and was at a strategy meeting with the San Antonio faction of ILGIA and they are going all out to make this a memorable session.