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Nuestra Familia: The Real History
By Gabe Morales
Published: 02/18/2008

Abstract smoke1 Editor’s Note: This story is being shared with us by Gangs Across America, an online source providing strategies to combat gangs across the nation. From time to time, Corrections.com will publish articles from the Gangs Across America website.

By late 1965-1967, the California Mexican Mafia or EME controlled many prison yards in the California Department of Corrections (CDC) and had already started to victimize Northern California inmates and inmates from Southern California who would not join their gang.

Some EME members were against Mexicans victimizing Mexicans, especially some members from Maravilla, which was a large area of East Los Angeles. The first Nuestra Familia Mejicana Constitution was written between the lines of legal work. The draft was covertly smuggled out to others who voiced concerns about La EME's tactics.

Voted to the first Mesa or Board of the Organization was "Lips/Lil John/Juan" from San Gabriel Valley's Big Bassett gang, "Chalo" from Bakersfield (and EME Leader "Chy" Cadena's cousin), "Huero" from the West L.A.'s Clantone gang, "Freddy/Ferny/Wolf" Gonzalez from Los Angeles' Temple St. and San Diego, "Diara" from Paicoma in the San Fernando Valley, and "Black Jess" from Oxnard-Chiques. Note: All of these initial NFM leaders were from Southern California cities!

The objectives of the NFM group according to their constitution were social, political, economical, and cultural. The NFM did have an alliance with the Black Family, which later was named the Black Guerilla Family, against the Mexican Mafia-Aryan Brotherhood Alliance.

By 1967, many NFM members were being sent to San Quentin. This is about the time period of growing dissatisfaction with the EME and growing numbers of NFM. "Black Bob" Vasquez, who was later an NFM General, states he was introduced to the group and "Babo" Sosa was later elected as the sole "Nuestro General", but neither started the NFM.

There has been some historical misunderstandings about La Familia Cinco which was a separate group from the NFM ran by an inmate named David Corona. This NFM "Blooming Flower" was spreading forth in CDC at a time when the Mexican Mafia was dominant in controlling the Mexican-American inmate population and soon led up to confrontations around September 16, 1968, which is Mexican Independence and on December 17, 1972, which resulted in the death of Rodolfo "Cheyenne" Cadena at Chino Prison (CIM) Palm Hall.

This killing was depicted in the movie "American Me" with actor James Edward Olmos playing "Chy" as the character "Santana". White convict Joe Morgan's ( J.D. in the movie) power grew within the Mexican Mafia, but he and other EME did not have Cadena killed, it was done by the Nuestra Familia. In the mid-1970s the NF started to use younger Norteno 14s to do their bidding and by the late 1970s to early 1980s the Sureno 13s were doing a lot of work for La EME as more and more prison gang members were locked down in Segregation Units.

By the 1980s, the Nuestra Familia recruited almost exclusively from Northern California. These historical events and bloodshed during this gang civil war between North and South are some of the main reasons that many young Mexican/Chicano kids fight today, they fight each other on the street and in prison, and sadly many really don't even know why.

Gabriel Morales has worked in the area of gang prevention, intervention, and suppression, both in the adult and juvenile system, for over 25 years. His experience includes working with at-risk kids in Seattle and the suburbs, rural areas, and L.A. youth gang diversion programs, many years as a Correctional Peace Officer at Folsom State Prison in California, as well as classifying and dealing with violent offenders in the jail setting of a large city.

He also teaches about Black gangs, Asian gangs, White Supremacists, and other Security Threat Groups. Gabe will be an instructor in Las Vegas for the Homefront Protect Conference on prison gangs. He has a book coming out on "Prison Gangs in the United States" that will be released Fall 2008.


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