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Hispanic Gangs

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									Hispanic Gangs

Understanding the Marginal Man or
The Beginnings of Hispanic
 We can say that in some ways the end of the
  War with Mexico is the beginning of
  Hispanic street gangs in the US.

 The resentments and general attitudes of
  Anglos after the War caused resentment to
  grow and fester among Mexican Americans
  who felt they had been cheated by the
  Americans out of their heritage.
Hispanic Gangs
 In the early 1900's, Los Angeles experienced
  the birth of the first Hispanic street
  gangs. Mexican-Americans who lived in the
  "pueblo" of Los Angeles still felt displaced,
  even as naturalized citizens. Many of these
  new Americans were treated like second-
  class citizens by white Angelenos, and were
  told to go back to their home, Mexico. In the
  minds of Hispanics in Los Angeles, they were
  already home, but their home was now part of
  the United States because of the annexation.
The Mexican immigrants also tended to live in the
same areas, with family or other Mexicans who
migrated from the same geographical areas of
Mexico. These neighborhoods were often some of
the poorest areas in rapidly growing Los
Angeles. These conditions aided in the
development of rivalries between various immigrant
groups. A modern class distinction was also
developing. Mexican street gangs formed in part
due to economic conditions, prejudice and racism
By the 1920s, El Paso, Texas had become a center
for many immigrant Mexicans, much like Los
Angeles. In fact, an underground travel route
developed between the two cities. This route
allowed El Paso trends to directly influence the L.A.
street gangs. In El Paso, Texas, many of the
Mexicans who went to prison were incarcerated in
Huntsville. While in the Huntsville prison, they
formed a prison gang called the El Paso Tip. El
Paso Tip took it's name from the area of Texas
where the prison was located. Fellow gang
members would greet each other by saying: "are

you tipped up?" or "are you tipped?"
The growth of the aircraft industry in the 40s in
California brought many immigrants to California
including Mexicans.
Zoot Suits and the Pachucos
 Mickey Garcia, a young boy from Pachuca,
  Hidalgo, Mexico migrated north and relocated in
  El Paso, Texas
 He immediately joined a local Mexican street gang called
  the Secundo Barrio. Garcia also brought with him a unique
  style of dress, initially thought to have originated in
  Mexico. Garcia's dress style became an instant hit with all
  the young people, especially the local gang members.
Zoot Suits
    His fashion included a felt hat with a long feather in it,
    called a tapa or tanda. The pants were pleated and baggy,
    and referred to as tramas. The shirt was creased and
    called a lisa. A carlango, a long, loose-fitting coat, was
    worn over the ensemble. The shoes, called calcos, were
    French-toe style or Stacy Adams brand and were always
    shined. To complete the style, one had to have a long
    chain attached to the belt loop that hung past the knee, and
    into the side pocket of the pants. This outfit became known
    as the zoot suit, and was later referred to as the pachuco
The Beginnings of Strife
 The Maravilla gangs started to form
 during the mid-to-late 1940s, and
 continued to grow well into the
 1950s. The concept of protecting turf
 was expanded within the housing
 projects known as Maravilla, where the
 Maravilla gangs got their
 start. Competition for jobs, women and
 turf became issues for the youth that
 lived in this area.
1942 and the 18th Street Gang
 After a man was killed at a swimming hole,
  suspects were rounded up and subsequently
  sent to prison. They handled it well and
  became folk-heros in the Mexican-
  American community and the manner of
  dress they adopted a “gang pride.”
Zoot Suit Riot
 Resentments on part of Anglos
 Resentment on part of Mexican-Americans
 Conflicts with military personnel
 Resulted in ongoing assaults on men
  wearing Zoot Suits by military personnel
The Mexican Mafia
 Between 156-57 several Eslos were doing
  time at Duel Vocational Institute and
  formed La Eme
 San Quentin 1968
 A day-long battle between Mex-mafia and
Opposition to La Eme
 the murder solidified the rivalry between
 northern and southern Hispanics, both
 in the prison system and on the
 street. The Hispanics from northern
 California formed Nuestra Familia (NF),
 another prison gang, in response to the
 conflict. NF was formed to protect the
 northern Californians from La Eme,
 whose membership was made up
 primarily of southern Californians.
Street and prison gang members from northern
California began to use the number 14 as an
identifier. It represented the 14th letter of the
alphabet, the letter "N." The letter stood
for Norteno, the Spanish word for northerner. The
term norte was used to show that a person was
from the north. Individuals from southern California
were automatically considered rivals, both inside
the prison system and on the streets.
 Inmates in the state prison system were given
bandannas in a railroad print, and could
select from two colors: red or blue. Hispanic
street and prison gangs from northern California
claimed the color red to identify
themselves. They used this color because
most of the southern California Hispanics in
state prison had chosen to wear a blue-colored
railroad handkerchief. The Crips and Bloods
were not the first gangs to use red or blue to
Code of Conduct Evolved
 Do not cooperate with the police
 Take care of business yourself (handle
  your own problems).
 Never snitch or inform on gang activity
  (be a rata/rat).
 No insult, no matter how small, goes
The New Hispanic Gang
 By the 1970s the firearm had become the
  weapon of choice
 New immigrants became a source of prey
 They formed gangs for self-protection
 Gang violence became the rule
 No rules, “only the strong survive.”
Drugs and Hispanic Gangs
 By the late 1980s, Hispanic gangs such
  as 18th Street, 38th Street, and Big
  Hazard began to sell drugs for profit.
 Los Angeles the Gang capital of the US
 Respect was no longer based on age or
  experience, but on fear.
Latin King and Queen Nation
 Largest of Hispanic gangs in Chicago and
  perhaps in the US.
 Rooted in the Puerto Rican experience in
  the US.
Mara Salavatrucha (MS 13)
 In the early 1980s, a violent civil war began in El Salvador
  which would last more than 12 years. Approximately
  100,000 people were killed in the war, and more than one
  million people fled from El Salvador to the U.S. The
  Salvadorian refugees and immigrants initially settled
  primarily in southern California and Washington, D.C..
  Some of the refugees and immigrants had ties with La Mara,
  a violent street gang from El Salvador. Others had been
  members of paramilitary groups like the Farabundo Marti
  National Liberation Front (FMNL) during the civil war. FMNL
  was made up of Salvadorian peasants who were trained as
  guerilla fighters. Many were adept at using explosives,
  firearms, and booby traps.
MS 13
 Most of the refugees settled in Hispanic
  neighborhoods, but were not readily
  – The result was MS 13 formed in the late 1980s
    for protection.
  – Known for being extremely violent with the
    machete being the weapon of choice.
MS 13
 Involved in a variety of crimes from drugs
  to theft and murder for hire.
 Originally only El Salvadorans could be in
  MS 13, but gradually they expanded to
  allow other central Americans and a few
  black Americans.
MS 13
 Gang members identify themselves with the
 number 13, usually with SUR or MS
  – They also identify themselves as “southerners”
    thus Surenos.
  – They often attack 18th Street gang members on
  – Show no fear of Law Enforcement
MS 13
 Two primary methods for dealing with MS
  – Arrest
      • May involve prison time
  – Deportation
      • If sent back to El Salvadore gang members fear they
        will be targeted by Sombra Negra
18th Street Gang
 One of the largest and best known of street
  gangs in the nation.
  – Expanded to many states and Indian country
  – L/E estimates that member ship is at least
18th Street Gang
 Formed in the 60s
   – Result of racial discrimination by the Clanton
     Street Hispanic gang who restricted
     membership to American citizens of pure
     Hispanic origin.
      • First gang to cross the racial barrier and this allowed
        a rapid and unchecked growth.
18th Street Gang
 Criminal Activity
  – Drugs
     • Heroin, coke, “rock” cocain, meth, Marijuana
     • “tax collection”
18th Street Gang
 Characteristics
  – Tattoos
     • 18, 666, XVIII
     • Clothing
        – Black trousers, white T-shirts, sports teams
18th Street Gang
 Recruit from elementary age children
 A big arsenal of weapons
  – Assault rifles, tech 9, Mac 10s and 11s, 357,
    9mm, .44s and so on
  – Estimates are that the 18th Street gang will
    continue to grow.

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