The Mexican Mafia, also know as the La Eme, entails the true definition of organized crime. There are about 100 Mexican Mafia members in the United States distributed through California and Arizona state prisons, Federal prisons, and everyday society (Enriquez). While relatively small, the Mexican Mafia remains as one of the most powerful and threatening criminal organizations of today. The Mexican Mafia’s criminal behavior is orchestrated mainly through the California prison system but is widely distributed into the streets. The reason why The Mexican Mafia has become so powerful is because of their ability to manipulate the prison system through deceitful communication, the flow of money, and Mexican Mafia meetings. This information is provided through Rene “Boxer” Enriquez, a former elite Mexican Mafia member who removed himself from the organization in 2002 and shared all their secrets with law enforcement.
The Mexican Mafia uses deceiving communication techniques to orchestrate business. Understanding that the operational standard of prison systems include monitoring and surveillance, Mexican Mafia members use encrypted communication (Enriquez). For instance, when a Mexican Mafia member wishes to discuss a drug transaction they meet with an outside member or trusted associate (wife, friend, etc.) through a scheduled visit. The Mexican Mafia prisoner would ask the trusted individual such as his wife how everything is going at home. In reply, his wife would respond that everything is fine, Joe came by to help with the garden by planting four rows of bushes, and that Joe will come by every month to help maintain the yard. To the department of corrections monitoring this conversation it appears as normal, but to the Mexican Mafia member this means that Joe came by to pay four hundred dollars this month, and that Joe will return every month to continue his payments. This manipulation of communication demonstrates just one way the Mexican Mafia has become organized and powerful within the prison system and on the streets because they can run full operations behind bars.
The Mexican Mafia has also gained more ground both in prisons and on the streets through their flow of money. While members are incarcerated in prison, a regular occurrence in the Mexican Mafia involves the laundering of money established though trust accounts (Enriquez). The money is placed in the Mexican Mafia members trust accounts from a variety of sources where almost all of the transactions include money gained from criminal behavior. While the payments are often small increments of a few hundred dollars, it becomes cumulative and adds up to thousands of dollars. All a Mexican Mafia member must do to withdraw or transfer this money is fill out a trust withdrawal application form. Money put into the Mexican Mafia members trust accounts allow the incarcerated members to open bank accounts where they can even gain interest on their finances. This system allows members to receive illegal money and release legitimate checks. Keep in mind these are incarcerated individuals who often have not had a job for years. The Mexican Mafia has learned to master the art of manipulation to launder money and keep their organization in a position of power in prisons and on the streets.
Probably one of the most successful ways powerful organizations orchestrate is through meetings; the Mexican Mafia operates with an underground system to hold meetings with members while incarcerated in prison. The system begins when a Mexican Mafia member from another county subpoenas other members for a court case. By law, the department of corrections must send the subpoenaed Mexican Mafia members to that county for the court case. These subpoenas are almost always falsified so that Mexican Mafia members can meet together to discuss operations. In 1997, up to fifteen Mexican Mafia members met on the expense of California Department of Corrections (Enriquez). The Mexican Mafia has learned how to manipulate the system for the benefit and power of their organization; the meetings that go on allow the Mexican Mafia to plan out their criminal acts.
The Mexican Mafia has proven to be powerful through deceitful communication, the flow of money, and Mexican Mafia meetings. The only way to slow down or stop the Mexican Mafia is to fix the loop holes in the state and federal prison systems that allow members to abuse the services for the betterment of the Mexican Mafia organization. These individuals are smart, and they will continue to abuse the prison system if things do not change.
1. Gangster Confidential . Youtube. americanradioworks, 18 Mar. 2008. Web. 30 Nov. 2011<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEvsD7pyp5w&feature=related>.
2. Blatchford, Chris. The Black Hand. New York: First Harper Paperback Published , 2009. Print.