Mexican Mafia

(La Eme)


Luis "Huero Buff" Flores
A forgotten figure within the annals of crime, Luis "Huero" Flores is credited with coming up with the ideal of forming the Mexican Mafia gang while serving time at Duel Vocational Institute at Tracey, California in 1957. Flores hailed from an East Los Angeles street gang in Hawaiian Gardens of the same name. The orignal Mexican Mafia is said to have consisted of 13 Los Angeles area gang members serving time for various offenses. Huero Flores cotinued around the fringes of crime dying in 1991 fro the effects of a long term heroin addiction.


Rudolpho "Cheyenne" Cadena
The most revered member of La Eme, Rudy Chy Cadena was a wayward youth from the Bakersfield area. Not known as a hotbed for notorious gang members, Rudy earned an extended stay at Duel Vocational Institute when he stabbed a Bakersfield man to death outside of a dancehall in 1958.

At the time of his conviction, Rudy was only 15 years old. A small man of tremendous energy and a hair trigger temper, Rudy earned the respect and admiration of the members of the Mexican Mafia which was still in its development stage. Cadena by all accounts was a highly intelligent man with a presense which made him a natural leader.

Cadena's propensity for violent acts against staff and fellow inmates earned him an early transfer to the State Prison system in December of 1959. Inspite of his small stature ( Cadena stood a mere 5'4" and weighed in at 120 lbs at the time of his death in 1972 ), and youth, Cadena became the most respected hispanic member of La Eme. Cadena, along with Joe Morgan the first anglo member of La Eme and the architect of the gangs growth, led the gang to prominance in the California correctional system terrorizing other unorganized ethnic inmate groups gaining a monopoly over the sale of drugs, pornography, prostitution, extortion and murder for hire.

Cadena was greatly influenced by Morgan who became his best friend and mentor. Cadena was introduced to the writings of Octavio Paz and began to study ancient Aztec culture due to Morgan. The two could not have been more different physically with Morgan standing a full foot taller than Rudy with a muscular build and a shaved head, yet they shared a lot in common as Morgan like Cadena had been sentenced to prison as a youth for murder and inspite of his Anglo heritage had adopted the hispanic culture as his own.

Rudy Cadena continued to run the Mafia's activities and began to look beyond the walls of prison envisioning a state wide monopoly of crime much like that of the Italian dons that La Eme offered protection to. Prior to his death in December of 1972, Cadena had struck an uneasy alliance with George Jackson and the Black Guerilla Family and was active in Latino political organizations like the Brown Berets. Cadena's participation in politics beyond prison walls struck some of his fellow carnales as odd as they could not understand his interest in things not directly related to the operation of La Eme.

Rudy Cadena made overtures to unite La Eme with the rival Nuestra Familia a second group of hispanic inmates from Northern California. The annimosity between the two groups had led two numerous standoffs between the two groups since the formation of La Familia about 5 years earlier. Cadena's peace talks with members of the Familia were frowned upon by other Eme leaders who ordered the murder of two Familia leaders just prior to an important meeting between Cadena and Death Row Joe Gonzales a Familia leader at Chino Reception center.
Cadena knew that he was a target following the unauthorized attacks yet continued to move freely in defiance of death amoung fellow Eme soldiers and Familia enemies. Cadena paid the price of what some saw as arrogance when he was beset upon by Familia assasins as he left his cell on the 3rd level of Palm Hall at the Chino Reception center. Cadena and two other Eme soldiers who came to his aide was stabbed 50 times and thrown to the main floor of Palm Hall where he was stabbed another 20 times by a second team of Familia killers. The death of Rudy Cadena sparked an unprecedented era of violence in the California correctional system which over the next year would claim the lives of 31 prisoners. The carnage and animosity from his murder still exist 29 years after his death as La Eme still has a kill on site order for any member of La Nuestra Familia. Should a member fail to attack a known enemy, he can count on being killed himself.

Following his death, Cadena was immortalized in the 1992 movie American Me by Edward James Olmos. When Morgan objected to certain parts of the movie relating to Cadena, two advisors who were also members of La Eme paid the ultimate price and a plot to extort Olmos was also uncovered.

Joseph "Pegleg" Morgan
Inspite of his Croatian ancestry, Joseph Morgan is the highest ranking non-hispanic member in the history of La Eme. During the 4 decades he spent locked behind the walls of the toughest prisons in California, Morgan earned the respect of inmates and staff alike conducting himself with a style and flair uniquely his own.

Morgan grew up among the hispanic gangs of East Los Angeles joining the Marvilla gang. Morgan launched his criminal career with the murder of his 32 year old lover's husband. Morgan beat the man to death and attempted to cover up the crime by burying him in a shallow grave. For more than a year the 16 year old sat confined in a special section of the Los Angeles County Jail before escaping by passing himself off as his cellmate who was scheduled to be sent to a juvenile forrestry camp.

Morgan's freedom would be short lived as he was recaptured and convicted of 2nd degree murder. Noting his sophistication as a criminal, the judge shipped him off to the nortorious prison fortrest at San Quentin. The year was 1946, Morgan spent the next 9 years establishing a reputation amoung his fellow inmates many of whom were white and looked down on his close association with latino customs.

Released in 1956, Morgan robbed a bank in West Covina, California of $117,000 and earned his second trip to San Quentin. During his second prison stay, Luis Flores and a gang of 13 were organizing La Eme at Tracey. Morgan, through his membership in the Marvilla gang, knew many of the orignal members either as friends or ( as in the case of Jose "Sluggo" Pineda also a member of El Hoyo Marvilla ) as rivals.

Morgan became the mentor of many of the Eme originales as they were transfered to San Quentin. Morgan taught many of the youngsters how to survive and thrive at San Quentin and used his knowledge, reputation and influence to cement the bond of brotherhood amongst the carnales. Morgan became the mentor of Rudy Cadena a young man who like himself had been convicted of murder and earned himself an early invitation to the big leagues of crime through a pattern of sophisticated criminal dealings at Tracey.

Morgan and Cadena studied ancient Aztec history and kept up with the doings of latino political groups like the Brown Berets. Morgan and Cadena also organized a protection racket which offered the legion of Eme soldiers to incarcerated Italian mob figures in return for cash and drugs. La Eme also moved into the field of prostitution offering sex for sale to other inmates. Morgan insured the integrity of his group by banning the participation of Eme members in any type of homosexual act.

Morgan also seized control of the flow of narcotics in San Quentin and later as Eme members were transferred to other institutions in those locations as well. Morgan and Cadena began making contacts on the outside to expand the group's influence seizing control of several community action groups and programs which provided jobs and income fronts for released members of the group. One such project resulted in the murder of an aide to a California politician and a highly publicized probe and series of arrests which for the first time introduced the nation to the newest crime syndicate.

Morgan himself earned a release in the mid 70s, married and had 2 children before a charge of transporting a firearm from his home in Salt Lake City, Utah to Torrance, California landed back in jail. At the time of his arrest Morgan was wanted on an outstanding warrant. Morgan pled guilty to both the gun and narcotics charges in exchange for a sentence ranging from 2 to 12 years in May of 1978. Joe Morgan would never walk the streets a free man again as testimony from Armando "Mundo"Mendoza and Eddie "The sailor" Gonzales offered testimony that Morgan was the man responsible for ordering a number of brutal killings both behind bars and on the street in addition to instructing a number of Eme soldiers in the art of robbing banks. Morgan's nororiety and influence within the prison system earned a trip to the ultra-secure confines of Pelican Bay prison when it opened in 1989. Morgan spent the remainder of his life arbitraiting a dispute between the man pegged to be his successor and a younger generation of mafia soldiers led by Rene "Boxer" Enriquez and Ruben "Tupi" Hernandez against Benjamin "Topo" Peters. Morgan died in October of 1993 at Corcoran State Prison of liver cancer.

Benjamin "Topo" Peters
A veteran of the same East Los Angeles gang "El Hoyo Soto Marvilla," which produced Joe Morgan and Jose "Sluggo" Pineda. Known as Topo "Gopher in Spanish," among the carnales, Peters has been incarcerated since he stabbed a man to death outside a San Diego nightclub for making the mistake of asking a woman he was with to dance.

Sentenced to life in prison in 1979, Peters became a close confidant of imprisoned Eme Godfather Joe Morgan. Due to his close association with Morgan and a willingness to follow orders without question, Topo rose rapidly through the ranks of La Eme. Like his mentor he was a stickler for following the rules and whole heatedly believed in enforcing his authority through fear and force. An example of this rule was the 1991 stabbing of Salvador "Mun" Buenrostro at the Los Angeles County jail. While locked in a holding cell with Peters and Rene "Boxer" Enriquez, Buenrostro was stabbed 26 times on by both men. Peters then ordered Enriquez to plead guilty to the attack so they could ensure transfers to Pelican Bay where they had better Television sets than at Corcoran where both men were set to be shipped.

Buenrostro had been targeted for death for breaking one of the gangs cardinal rules against politicking for remarks he made about Joe Morgan. Mun sealed his fate when he refused to make a telephone call to Peters mother as requested.

Peters was named in an indictment charging him and 22 other members of La Eme with racketeering and a slew of other offenses. The indictment and trial occurred at a time when Topo was ignored in a heated battle for control of the organization with a younger member of the group by the name of Ruben "Tupi" Hernandez. Unaware of the friction between Hernandez and Peters, authorities placed both men in the same holding cell before a court appointed hearing and true to form Peters responded by stabbing Tupi a dozen times. Tupi survived the attack and was promptly moved to a federal facility to avoid further incident. Peters prepared for the inevitable retaliatory strike but a judge ordered them to remain housed seperately inspite of an impassioned plea from Hernandez to return to the Los Angeles County Jail where he could exact his revenge. Both men were convicted with members of both factions of La Eme and sentenced to serve several life terms in federal prison. Benjamin "Topo" Peters eventually lost control of his faction of La Eme and reported to department officials that he felt he was a target for Eme hitmen. Illness robbed Peters of his influence as well as his ability to fed off the frequent encroachments of the legion of young violent rivals plotting his demise. In an effort to stop the violence resulting from this battle, authorities hoped to ship Topo to a federal prison facility while keeping Hernandez secured in the segregated confines of Pelican Bay near the Oregon border. The move never happened and Topo Peters died of cancer while still in the custody of the California Department of Corrections in February 2001.

Ruben "Tupi" Hernandez
A veteran of the Black Angels Gang in Ontario, California. Tupi joined La Eme during one of the frequent trips behind bars he made during his late teens. Tupi, along with his best friend Tito Marines led the Black Angels in battle against other well established Inland Empire gangs from Chino "The Sinners," Rancho Cucamonga and Pomona. A small gang at the time, the Angels shared the city of Ontario with a second set of Angels known as the Earth Angels.

Tupi's devotion and eagerness to please his superiors in La Eme led him to become known as one of the most dangerous inmates in the California prison system, a designation he would prove when his buddy Marines was killed while he served an 8 year sentence for robbery. Upon his release, Tupi promptly returned to his old haunts where he chastised the younger members of the Black Angels for failing to take care of business "meaning kill a list of people he had passed down through the grapevine "prison information network," before his release. Prime on his list of people to do was Mary Lou Davila Salazar the woman he deemed responsible for Marines murder. During a series of meetings with the most promising Eme recruits from the Black Angels, Tupi warned the youngsters to stay off of the street Salazar lived on and secured a small arsenal of weapons to complete his mission of revenge. In an event which shocked the town of Ontario, Tupi entered Salazar's house on the morning of June 22,1987 and savagely beat and excecuted not only Salazar but her young roomate and her boyfriend who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Police immediately determined that Tupi was responsible and within 48 hours of the vicious episode, Tupi was lodged behind bars for what would turn into a life sentence. Convicted of the triple homicide, Hernandez received a life sentence for each of his victims. During the trial evidence of his Eme ties were introduced and it quickly became apparent that Tupi Hernandez was much more than a soldier in the scheme of things. Testimony was introduced that veteran Eme members referred to him as sir and fawned at the chance to please him. It would be years before his true status in the gang became known.

Tupi was shipped off to Pelican Bay where he became the leader of a faction of Mexican mafia members who challenged the authority of Benjamin "Topo" Peters. Peters preferred to conduct Eme business from the shadows whereas Tupi felt anyone who got in his way should be made to pay. The cost of an indiscretion more times than not was paid in blood. Tupi authorized attacks on members of La Eme who broke the rules or met with his displeasure. Prison staff were not exempt from the attacks. Hernandez was attacked by Peters during the 1997 Mexican mafia racketeering trial and stabbed nearly a dozen times. He never got the chance to respond in kind as the judge ordered him to be held away from his fellow carnales to avoid a bloody retaliatory strike like he had done before. Sentenced to a fourth life term, Tupi returned to the solitary confinement of Pelican Bay prison and plotted an attack on Peters authority on the streets of Los Angeles. The result of this war led to the imprisonment of Peters top lieutenant and the turning of Tupi's own representative. Ruben continues to run his faction like a well oiled machine inspite of the four life sentences which have been imposed on him. He is believed to be responsible for the recent rash of attacks against prison staff members and law enforcement officers in the Pomona and San Bernardino region.


Robert "Robot" Salas
Hailing from the Boyle Heights Big Hazard Gang, Robot Salas is another legend of the criminal fraternity with a long history of violence and mayhem behind bars.

Salas served as the ostensible head of La Eme within the California correctional system during the mid 70s after Joe Morgan was paroled and for a short time moved to Utah. During his time calling the shots for the carnales, Salas garnered mainstream media attention when his name was mentioned in connection with the brutal murder of 4 associates of the Mexican mafia including the wife of fellow Eme member Michael Delia who was found shot to death outside of Sacarmento California where she was going to provide information on the expansion of La Eme beyond prison walls. Mrs. Delia was going to tell how the Mexican mafia was infiltrating community based organizations with paroled soldiers and laundering money from drugs and robberies.

Inspite of all of his mid 70s notoriety, Salas will forever be known as the man who started the shoe wars in 1968. This conflict is viewed as the most important incident in sparking the war between La Eme and La Nuestra Familia which has raged on nonstop for the past 34 years. According to prison lore, Salas was the cellmate of a Nuestra Familia member by the name of Hector Padilla. Padilla is said to have had an old pair of Florsheim dress shoes which he kept shinned to a gloss. It is unclear if Salas actually took the shoes from Padilla or if a third party, Eme soldier Carlos (Pieface) Ortega did the deed. The result nonetheless was a confrontation leading to Padilla accusing Salas of taking his shoes which led to an altercation which left Padilla clinging to life in the San Quentin infirmary. The Norteno faction quickly retaliated for their fallen comrade and the cycle of violence was unleashed and continues today.

Robot Salas showed no signs of slowing down nearly 30 years later when he was once again mentioned as the architect of a double homicide in Fontana, California which was the result of a drug dealer's failure to kick money back to Salas who was completing a long term in prison. In a move which was intended to send a message as much as anything, Salas dispatched Joe (Colorado Red) Ariaz to see the delinquent dealer. When a dispute broke out, Ariaz pulled his pistol and murdered Robert Barrasa and his brother. The name of Salas came up several times during the trial but due to his fearsome reputation a woman said to have been the love interest of the imprisoned gang leader refused to confirm that he was aware of the situation when she drove his soldier to the home of the Barrasa's.

Robert Salas was released from prison in the late 90s and proclaimed himself a born again Christian. Salas became a prominent member of Victory Outreach church which has has long been a haven for paroled Mexican mafia figures. Salas died in December 2004 under curious circumstances, his remains were cremated leading some to speculate if his former carnales had anything to do with his untimely demise.

Federal Faction

Raymond "Huero Shy" Shyrock
Known by the moniker Huero Shy, Raymond Shyrock has been involved in the dealings of the Mexican mafia for nearly a quarter century. Shyrock first garnered public attention when he and 6 other members of La Eme were arrested in connection with 10 slayings in 1978. At the time, Raymond was a 25 year old ex-con whose loyalty and enthusiasm for carrying out even the most henious orders from his superiors made him a favorite of the legendary Joe Morgan. Shyrock like his criminal mentor was of Anglo heritage but grew up among the latino gang members in El Monte California.

Inspite of the widespread press coverage given to his arrest, Shyrock ended up serving a minimal amount of time for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Following the completion of his jail term, Shyrock disappeared from public view and did not emerge again until the mid 90s when he was named as one of the most powerful Eme leaders directing the gangs activity in the San Gabriel Valley. It soon became clear that Huero Shys authority extended far beyond his stated area of influence when he was charged with ordering the murder of Anthony (Dido) Moreno a former Eme member who was green lighted (targeted for death) for leaving the group more than a decade before his murder in April of 1995. Shyrock ordered Moreno's death during a meeting held in a hotel room in 1993. The order was finally carried out by a hit team sent by eme recruit Luis (Pelon) Maciel. The brutal crime not only claimed the life of the intended target but also those of Moreno's sister her six year old daughter, 5 month old son and a friend of Moreno's who just so happened to be present. The other victims were killed because the order was given to leave no witnesses.

Shyrock was convicted of racketeering during a 1997 federal trial aimed at stripping away the leadership of La Eme. Shyrock received a life term in federal prison. Luis Maciel was convicted of directing the bloody attack on Moreno and sentenced to death in state court.


Frank Macias "Chino" Madriaga
  The Eme's overlord in San Diego county prior to a racketeering conviction in 2000 landed in the federal prison system. Madriaga is a longtime Eme soldier with an uncanny knack of maintaining control of his area. Known by the monikor Chino, Madriaga's name surfaced as the architect of a scheme to share drug profits from his San Diego base with incarcerated Eme leaders at Pelican Bay. The poorly devised but well intentioned plot saw Madriaga from his cell at Leavenworth Federal Prison, order a minion in National City to divide taxes collected from Eme associated gangs into two piles. One to be shared with his "brothers in the Bay." A thinely veiled reference to Eme leaders incarcerated at Pelican Bay near the Oregon border.


Ernest "Chuco" Castro
  Ernie "Chuco" Castro was once one of Eme's most feared and respected enforcers. Castro began his indoctrination into the ultimate gang in 1979. He earned the respect and admiration of his peers by carying out violent acts with reckless abandon. His zeal and loyalty led to his induction into the nefarious group in 1983. He became a close associate of Ruben "Tupi" Hernandez "Eme's defacto leader," while the two served time in various Califonia facilities. A notorious jail house snitch once detailed a conversation he observed between the two in which Castro respectfully addressed Hernandez as Sir.

  Castro emerged from prison and took his place among the Eme's highest ranking street leaders all while battling a terrible drug addiction. By his own account Chuco became disallusioned with the group after a series of internal disputes evolved. Castro entered into a plea agreement with the FBI after a 1993 arrest threatened to send him back to prison as a lifer. Castro began providing information on the organization detailing its leaders and some of their street dealings. Castro was the key to the governments 1995 indictment of the groups leadership core. On several occassions Castro wore a wire to Eme meetings while federal agents listened close by.

  Along with escaping a life sentence Ernie Castro reportedly made an estimated $200,000 for his 18 month stint as an undercover agent. Castro disappeared into the witness protection program following the close of the Mexican Mafia trial in 1997.

Ernest "Kilroy" Roybal
Today Ernest Roybal preaches the word of redemption and adherance to god's law, but for more than 40 years the only laws Roybal adherred to were those setup by his superiors in California's most feared prison gang. Roybal made quite a reputation for himself as a fearless uncompromising enforcer of the Eme edicts. Roybal was so loyal that he once risked a death sentence by committing a gang ordered murder while awaiting sentencing for a home invasion robbery ordered from above. Roybal drew a 26 year term for the robbery and another 26 years for the murder of 23 year old Danny Diaz. Roybal earned parole in September of 1993 and turned to Victory Outreach for guidance. Roybal remains a key speaker for V.O., and resides in San Bernardino California.