ON-Lion Letter
In Encounter Books' 2007 book The Mexican Mafia, Los Angeles author Tony Rafael exposed the history, operations, and structure of the Mexican Mafia.  Founded in 1957 by a group of young L.A. street gangsters, the Mexican Mafia has eluded public and law-enforcement scrutiny.

In his new preface to The Mexican Mafia's paperback edition, Rafael writes, "The proliferation of Mexican cartels in the U.S. has been far more rapid than even the most alarmist among us have anticipated.  One of the reasons is that the cartels have found, through the groundwork laid down by the Mexican Mafia and Hispanic street gangs, a ready-made, nationwide drug distribution network and a standing army fully trained and capable of regulating and enforcing the business."

Also known as "the Eme," the Mexican Mafia is directly or indirectly responsible for hundreds of homicides every year and now controls almost every L.A. neighborhood that has a strong Hispanic street presence.  It controls wholesale and retail drug trafficking and collects street taxes from a vast network of drug dealers and enforcers.

"From prison cells in Pelican Bay, members of the Mexican Mafia can order executions on practically any Los Angeles street, throughout most of Southern California, even in neighboring states," according to the book.  "It has far-reaching intelligence and communications systems, as well as a standing army of thousands of street soldiers."

The Mexican Mafia is based on original research conducted over 10 years.  For the book, Rafael interviewed active and retired gang members and was granted unprecedented access to active investigations and major criminal trials.

Encounter Books is an activity of Encounter for Culture and Education, a nonprofit group that is substantially supported by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee.
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