An explosive new book has blown the lid off the Mexican Mafia, the most notorious and influential Latino gang in Southern California.
And according to The Mexican Mafias author, Tony Rafael, the organization is behind the recent shootings of African Americans carried out by Hispanic street gangs.
Rafael said that although the LAPD has been vehemently denying that the recent shootings of African Americans are not race related, he strongly disagrees, pointing out that the killings are the result of tensions between blacks and Hispanics that have continued to simmer for the past decade.
Rafael said he has met a stonewall of silence as he attempted to get the word out about the racially motivated shootings. I wrote an article seven years ago about a dozen homicides involving blacks that were purely racially motivated, said Rafael. I contacted a number of local newspapers. One of them said I was trying to start a race war. They turned me down flat. The other newspapers did not want to hear about it either.
I ran into roadblocks writing the book because members cannot talk about the organization or even acknowledge the fact that it exists, said Rafael. Its one of the Mexican Mafias rules.
Rafael said that curiosity is what drove him to write the book, which traces the gangs early beginnings in the California prison system in the late 50s.
Basically, the members of the Mexican Mafia wanted to control the illegal activities going on in the prison system, as well as intimidate the other inmates, said Rafael, who spent seven years researching the book. Rafael said that as the numbers of Latinos increased in the prison system, the Mexican Mafia grew in influence. I think their growth started when the prison population shifted from predominantly white and black inmates to predominately Hispanic inmates, Rafael asserted. Once that happened, the members of the Mexican Mafia started throwing their weight around. If anybody didnt do what they told them to do, the members would kill them.
Rafael, who was the guest speaker Saturday at the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable in Leimert Park hosted by Earl Ofari Hutchinson, said that the Mexican Mafias influence eventually spread to the streets, where they greatly influence other gangs.
And the author said that although the ranks of the Mexican Mafia number only 250 to 300, they control the roughly 117,000 inmates in Californias prison system. They exert a tremendous amount of influence not only over the thousands of incarcerated inmates, but on the Hispanic street gangs in California and in the southwest. They make their money through street taxations and drug sales inside and outside the prisons by selling heroin, amphetamines, cocaine, and marijuana. Their influence is also felt on the street–anybody who sells drugs in a neighborhood they control has to pay them taxes, says Rafael.
Rafael said the Mexican Mafia is both feared and respected and their ranks continue to grow. In other words, a Hispanic gang member who enters the California prison system will be forced to obey the Mexican Mafia, because they rule the California prisons, said Rafael.
The author, whose book is the first ever written on the notorious gang, said that it is a well-known fact that the Mexican Mafia had long disliked blacks and have ordered other Hispanic street gangs to rid predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods of African Americans.
There is a blanket policy to intimidate and assault blacks and get them out of predominantly Latino neighborhoods like Pomona, Compton, Long Beach, Colton, and the west San Fernando Valley, said Rafael, whose book chronicles nearly a dozen murders of African Americans carried out by Hispanic street gangs, who he claims were influenced by the no blacks policy of the Mexican Mafia.
They feel that blacks moving into their neighborhoods will bring in black gangs who wont pay their taxes and will hurt them in their pocketbooks. They also feel that killing a few blacks will send a message to the black population not to move into their neighborhoods.
The animosity toward blacks extends not only to black gang members, but also black civilians, said Rafael, who said that many of the blacks who were victims of Hispanic shootings were innocent bystanders.
Rafael said that he first traced the killings of blacks by Hispanic gangs to the early 90s. The first black killed by Latino gang members was Meredith Wilkes, who was killed in Compton in 1992, said Rafael, who uncovered other race-related killings of blacks by pouring through legal documents, talking to law enforcement officers, and questioning former Mexican Mafia gang members who are in the witness protection program.
I write about the murder of Kenneth Wilson, a 38-year-old black male from Ontario. He was visiting friends in Highland Park when a Latino gang member came along with a .9 mm and riddled his car with gunfire. Then there was Christopher Bowser, who was being harassed by the Hispanic Avenue 43 gang in Highland Park and was shot down and killed in 1999. Shortly after that, another black man, Anthony Prudhomme, was also killed in the same neighborhood.
But Rafael said he was even more surprised when he contacted black organizations about the killings and was shunned. I called the NAACP and never received a call back, said Rafael. One guy told me that it is impossible for Hispanics to be racist, but I disagree with that, Rafael said.