Typical La Eme Member

In the early stages of the gang it was required that one be of Mexican decent in order to belong. The only known exception to this rule was a Caucasian man by the name Joe Morgan who was allowed because based on his drug connections. He was also responsible for uniting La Eme and the Aryan Brotherhood (a white prison gang) as allies due to his ethnicity. Members were required to perform at least one “hit” or knifing and a member’s status in the gang became based upon dedication and seniority. The dedication is measured by how many assaults they engage in. Throughout time, the membership rules have evolved. It takes three existing members of the gang to vote a probationary member in. The gang’s policy also states that it requires a vote from three members in order to kill a fellow gang member. However, no votes are required to approve a killing of someone outside the gang. Some gain membership by murdering a former La Eme member who has violated the rules. La Eme instructs its members to strictly follow these three rules: No informing, no homosexual acts, and no cowardice. Practicing Christianity and “potlicking” (creating dissension among members) is considered a violation to the rules as well. The consequences of breaking any of these rules typically results in death.
Membership and Structure
The Mexican Mafia is not presided over by a single leader but by various generals throughout the United States. The generals’ instructions are given to captains, lieutenants, and soldiers. The soldiers are at the bottom of the hierarchy and are sometimes referred to as “carnales,” or brothers. Each prison has its own existing leadership. La Eme imitates the same structural framework as the traditional Italian Mafia or the Sicilian Mafia. They are both well organized and disciplined organizations.
In prison, there are an estimated 150 members who are authorized to order murders and at least 2000 associates to fulfill these orders. Throughout the United States, the Mexican Mafia is comprised of more than 30,000 members.

At San Quentin Prison in the 1960’s, a blood oath was established for the members of the Mexican Mafia by Luis Flores and Rudy “Cheyenne” Cadena. Before the establishment of the oath, members were allowed to return to whatever former gang they were part of. The new oath pledged that the only way a member could leave the Mexican Mafia is death. Flores and Cadena also created a set of gang commandments that had to be strictly followed. The Mexican Mafia membership extends to the states of California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.

By: Rachelle Cochran

Page 3: Criminal Activities and Symbols