Sunday, June 8, 2014

Two New Books on Gangs: Don’t Mess With Texas! Gangs in the Lone Star State & Gangster’s Paradise: Gangs in the Pacific Northwest

"Don't Mess with Texas" is co-authored by veteran gang expert Juan "Johnny" Santana who went after the Texas Mexican Mafia, also known as the Mexikanemi, and other gangs. There are many more contributors in it who worked first hand combatting Security Threat Groups in the Lone Star State.

Some Exerts:

The shotgun slayings of five people in a San Antonio home in August of 1996 called the “French Street Massacre” apparently came on the orders of "Beaver" Perez. Nine other killings over the previous three years were also blamed on the notorious Texas prison gang. The RICO indictment accused the Mexikanemi of routinely dealing drugs, robbing, extorting and assaulting. The quintuple murders, the worst mass murder in modern San Antonio history, apparently stemmed from an order to rob the house. It was given out by Perez, a top lieutenant in the organization, who wanted to be General. The gang was after drugs and a large sum of money it believed was at the residence. The bodies of five people were discovered, all shot in the head execution-style......

Inv. Santana called the El Paso FBI Office and contacted an Agent ironically named Ruben Barragan. The Task Force now had another strange possibility of the intended target. This agent knew Hershey and further advised that in the mid 1990’s Hershey had been a TMM Lieutenant in charge of a hit squad for the Mexican Cartels in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. For some unknown reasons, Hershey had issues with ranking TMM members in San Antonio, Texas, and subsequently they placed the “Green Light” on him. Hershey prophetically told the agent that he expected some day that San Antonio was going to send someone to kill him and it looked like the day had come. The agent advised Santana that he would make attempts to reestablish contact with Hershey in light of the unfolding events. He also advised that he would place his squad on high alert in case something went down.

On November 2, 2001, The Task Force intercepted a call in which the Mafia members discussed  travel plans. Rodriguez, Guerrero, and their Captain Ruben “Low” Herrera scheduled their trip for the following morning. That meant that Santana, along with other Task Force members, had to do the same. In the calls they never mentioned weapons, so it was assumed that the members in El Paso were probably going to provide the hit team with weapons. The Task Force also assembled a team for Long Range Moving Surveillance (LRMS).

On November 3, 2001, the Task Force staged at 5:00 AM and went to Carlos Rodriguez’ residence on the West Side. Rodriguez was followed in his rented Trail Blazer to a house deep in the West Side. They saw Rodriguez, Guerrero, and Herrera enter this house and they stayed inside for a short period. When they came out, there were no discernible weapons. Rodriguez then went to some project housing and did the same thing. Surveillance was difficult in these crime ridden places. Finally the Task Force got on to Highway I-10 West and proceeded to follow him to El Paso with an entourage of government vehicles tailing him...

After about an hour later the San Antonio Task Force received a phone call from the El Paso Task Force advising that they had lost them. This was very frustrating. There was a group meeting, finally Santana and team decided to return to San Antonio. They drove over 1,110 non-stop during the operation and they were tired. Agent Barragan was also unsuccessful in contacting the intended target.

It was later found out that Rodriguez and his associates had made the El Paso Task Force surveillance team and had crossed over into Mexico, then reentered the U.S. side, and returned to San Antonio. This operation was very anti-climactic, but looking at the positive end of things, at least we foiled their plan and nobody was hurt. Hershey was not mentioned ever again.

This book gives an overview of all of the major gangs in Texas and includes personal stories and insights from investigators who actually worked many cases. It is a must have for anybody who deals with gangs in Texas or interested in combatting them.

It can be purchased at:

Gangster's Paradise: Gangs in the Pacific Northwest was written by national gang expert Gabe Morales with a Foreword written by local Gang Detective Joe Gagliardi:
In many places, a certain mindset seems to be prevalent with gang cops: "This is my gang intelligence. I gathered it, and I don’t want to share it." These types of cops believe that if they were to share this knowledge with their peers, it would somehow diminish their personal gang expertise, thereby diminishing their own usefulness. In fact, quite the opposite is true: the more you share, the more your peers will keep coming back to you as the “Expert”. After all, you’re the one that gathered the information in the first place…While others are just learning about stuff and repeating that information, you’re already out acting upon it, gathering new information, and you’re already way ahead of the game.

Gabe seems to intrinsically understand this dynamic. When I first reached out to him, he immediately started feeding me information on local gangs and gang members. He knew that I had nothing to "trade" and he expected nothing in return. My knowledge of the local gang culture literally doubled overnight when Gabe sent me his personal profiles of the main gangs that were active in my area, recent gang bulletins from other law enforcement agencies, and even which areas had higher concentrations of gang activity. As you can imagine, this information gave me a huge head start when I finally started my field training with KCSO.
Gabe's reputation and willingness to share "his" information was nothing new...

When you mention the Pacific Northwest, the first thought many people have is lots of trees and rain. It does have those things, but also a multitude of climates and different terrain. Unfortunately, as you have seen, this little piece of paradise also has street gangs who had thousands of victims.

At the turn of the century gang wars still existed, they just looked a little different from the Irish, Jew, or Italian gang wars one hundred years earlier. This time it was not Italians “whacking” the Irish, but murder was still occurring as street gangs searched for a reason to hate. 

Salvador “Chava” Nava, a member of Yakima’s Varrio Sur Locos (VSL) committed the murder of a rival Norteno Antone “Tony” Masovero in 2001. Nava was accused of shooting Masovero, age 21, in revenge for the fatal shooting days earlier of Victor Serrano, a VSL Sureño better known on the street as “Smurf.” Masovero, who was linked to Serrano’s slaying, was shot twice in the head as he and several friends sat in a car outside a taco stand on Nob Hill Boulevard. At his autopsy, authorities noted he was wearing a red belt with the number 14 on it, the 14th letter of the alphabet being the letter “N” which is a symbol for all Norteños....

An early-morning jogger found Milam's bullet-riddled body with a blue Kango hat on the street in the 5200 block of 57th Avenue South just past 5AM on October 17, 2005. Police detectives found a spent 9 mm shell casing at the scene, a cigarette butt and a blue cap with powder burns indicating Milam was shot in the head at close range. Other evidence, including bullet fragments, were recovered from Milam's body, and led investigators to believe he was shot by at least two different guns. Detectives sent the recovered shell casing and cigarette butt to the Washington State Patrol Lab. In January, 2006, the lab matched DNA from the cigarette and the shell casing to Norman, a convicted felon who was already serving time for unlawful possession of a firearm. 

Soon after Milam's death, detectives learned Norman and an associate, both members of separate Central District gangs, were the last two people to ever see Milam alive. At the time, both men said they had been with Milam at a friend's house, hung out, and then dropped him off at a Central District intersection. They told police they had no idea why he was killed.........

One of the main focuses by law enforcement in Washington State over the past two decades was to create a state-wide gang data base to track validated gang members for safety and security purposes. Veteran law enforcement and corrections and staff assigned to gang units or who worked gangs on a regular basis knew there was a “strong need to identify security risks to be pro-active for their safety and for that of the general public”.

When dealing with any criminal, law enforcement must use caution. When dealing with violent gang members, people under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and those with mental health issues or who are severely distraught during domestic violence calls, the consequences can be deadly.

This in-depth book covers the history of gangs in the Pacific Northwest like no work ever before. It is filled with pictures and details that only an insider would know. The Author has interviewed many gang members, cops, and corrections to bring you up to speed on who's who and what's what on the won't be able to put it down!

It can be purchased at: