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Thursday, August 31, 2006

US Street Gangs - Nortenos

The Norteños (Spanish for "northerners"), also called Nuestra Familia (Our Family), are a coalition of Chicano gangs in North America, based in Northern California. A member of these gangs is a Norteño (male) or Norteña (female); based on Spanish usage, these names are often not capitalized when referring to individual members. Mexican Americans who are not gang members, but feel a strong cultural affiliation with others in Northern California, may also call themselves norteños/norteñas or simply "northerners."

The traditional rivals of the Norteños are the Sureños ("southerners"). The dividing line between Norteños and Sureños has traditionally been Bakersfield, California.

History

In the late 1960s, Mexican-American (Chicano) inmates of the California state prison system began to separate into two rival groups, Norteños (northerners) and Sureños (southerners), according to the locations of their hometowns; the north-south dividing line was near Bakersfield. Part of the motivation for the split was the desire of the Norteños to be independent of "La Eme," a.k.a. the Mexican Mafia.

As with many other gangs, Norteños have been involved in trafficking of drugs and contraband, and armed conflict with other gangs and with police. According to police investigators, a requirement for full membership in Nuestra Familia is committing at least one murder for the gang.

Federal law enforcement agencies, long unable to infiltrate the group, began to step up their investigations in the late 1990s. In 2000 and 2001, 22 members were indicted on racketeering charges, including several who were allegedly serving as high-ranking gang leaders while confined in Pelican Bay. Thirteen of the defendants pleaded guilty; the other cases are still ongoing. Two of the defendants face the death penalty for ordering murders related to the drug trade. The largest of the federal investigations was Operation Black Widow.

Symbols and culture

Norteño emblems and clothing are based on the color red; a typical norteño outfit might include a red belt, red shoes, and red shoelaces. They also favor brand-name clothing such as Tommy Hilfiger, Polo, Eckō, Dickies, Ben Davis, and the University of Nebraska's sports team apparel (especially baseball hats with the letter "N"), in red, white, and black. The use of red by Norteños and blue by Sureños supposedly derives from the standard-issue bandanas in California prisons, which were only available in those colors. In areas where Norteños are allied with the Crips, the use of colors is less straightforward since the Crips use the color blue. Many 18th Street gang members have allied themselves with Nortenos in recent years. Also, they have an alliance with People Nation

Their number, sometimes used in tattoos and graffiti, is 14 (sometimes written as "X4", or in Roman numerals as "XIV"), since N is the fourteenth letter of the alphabet. The Norteños sometimes tattoo four dots on themselves, while Sureños tattoo three dots. Norte (Spanish for "north") is also a common Norteño graffiti tag. NX4 is a recent tag.

Norteños also lay claim to images of Chicano youth culture, such as lowrider cars, and of the Mexican-American labor movement, such as the sombrero, machete, and "Huelga bird" eagle, symbols of the United Farm Workers. At the same time that Norteños were first organizing in prisons and calling for liberation from the Mexican Mafia, the UFW and its leader César Chávez were folk heroes and symbols of liberation to many Chicano youths, including some gang members who had met Chávez when he was imprisoned for his union work.

Prison rules

Below is a list of rules found by a Deputy Sheriff inside the Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County, California, giving some insight into the inner workings of the gang. The entire letter was written on a 2×3 card in "micro-writing" (letters being less than a few millimeters big), a trademark of many prison gangs. Spelling and grammar errors are those of the writer.

Norteños

GREETINGS MI RAZA! THE ENCLOSED H.H.P'S (HOUSEHOLD POLACIES) HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED AND WILL BE ENFORCED THROUGHOUT "ALL OF SANTA RITA"FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF INSTILLING SELF DISCIPLINE, CONFIDANCE, AND FOREMOST SECURITY WITHIN OUR RANKS..IT IS IMPARITIVE THAT WE ALL AS A CLOSE KNIT RAZA RECOGNISE TO THE FULLEST OUR OVERALL RESPONSIBILITY'S BY UPHOLDING OUR HIGH STANDARDS IN CONDUCTING ONE SELF IN ACCORDANCE TO OUR SET GUILDELINES..AS OF BEING N.S WE WILL ACKNOWLEDGE AND RESPECT THESE POLICIES; NEVERTHELESS NOT FALTERING OUR WILL TO NOTHING LESS WITHIN THESE SET GUIDELINES..UPPON COMPLETION OF READ-ING AND GRASPING THE TRUE MEANING OF SAID POLACIES YOU WILL THEN, AND ONLY THEN BE CLEARED TO FUNCTION ON THE SAME LEVEL OF DISCIPLINE AND AWARENESS AS ALL BROTHERS RESIDEING HERE IN "SANTA RITA"..NOW, FOR SOME ODD REASON OR ANOTHER ONE CAN NOT MEET SAID REQUIREMENTS/GUIDELINES FOR HIS OWN SELFISH REASONS HE WILL REPORT IT TO HIS CHANNEL IMIDIATELY AND THE RIGHT PROCEDURES WILL BE TAKEN TO BETTER HELP FACILITATE HIS NEEDS.

- ..."HENCEFORTH".... 1. OUR N. PROGRAM WILL OPEN AT 8:00 AM AND CLOSE AT 10:00PM..DURING THIS TIME YOU WILL BE SUITED AND BOOTED. AWAKE, ~ - ALERT AND AWARE OF YOUR IMIDIATE SURROUNDINGS..IF YOU CATCH YOUR FELLOW N. "SLIPPIN" ASLEAP TAKE THE INITITIVE TO WAKE HIM UP BEFORE HE GETS D.P ...2. ONCE AGAIN ALL MOVEMENTS ARE MANDITORY! NO EXCEPTIONS.(THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS) WE WILL NOT BE CAUGHT SLIPPIN ON ANY LEVELS...3. A N. WILL ACKNOWLEDGE AND RESPECT HIS AUTHORITY IN CHARGE..ON THE SAME TOKEN NO N. WILL FEEL INFIRIOR TO ONE HOLDING RANK OR POSITION. 4.AT NO TIME WILL ANY N. ENDULGE IN ANY HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVITY, SEX PLAY, HORSE PLAY, SETRIPPIN, INDIVIDUALISM, OR HOMEBOY FAVORITISM. 5. NO RED ON RED ATTACKS/FIGHTING (AMONGST ONE AND OTHER) WILL BE TOLERATED. ALL FUNKING (BARRIO WARFARE) WILL BE LEFT ON THE STREETS. 6. NO DISRESPECTING ANY RAZAS OR K-9 WILL BE TOLERATED FOR IT ONLY JEPORDISES THE CAR AND THE LIVELYHOOD OF OUR PEOPLE..BESIDES WE DONT NEED THE UNWANT-ED AND UNECESSARY HEAT. 7. AT NO TIME WILL THE ABUSEMENT OF ALCOHOL OR ANY HARD DRUG BE TOLERATED. FOR THERE HAVE BE INCIDENTS IN THE PAST THAT WILL NO LONGER BE TOLERATED..WE ARE THE ELIETE AND WILL PRAMOTE PROFESIONAL ISM AND PROPPER CONDUCT AMONGST THE AIMLESS AND MISLEAD..9. HOUSEHOLD TIENDAS ARE ESTABLISHED FOR ALL NEW ARIVALS AND THOSE LESS FORTUNATE IN NEED. IT IS OUR SOLE DUTY TO PROMOTE UNITY AND CARNALISMO AMONGST OUR PEOPLE. THEREFOR CONTRIBUTEING TO THE THE TIENDA IS HIGHLY ENCOURAGED AND HIGHLY APPRECIATED..10. POSTING UP AT SHOWERS FOR YOUR FELLOW N. IS ALSO HIGHLY ENCOURAGED.. 11. A N. WILL DEFEND HIS HOUSEHOLD TO THE FULLEST NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OR CONSIQENCES. THIS MEANS STANDING NEXT TO THE CAUSE OR BROTHER IN BATTLE OR STRUGGLE..12. A N. WILL BE HELD IN HIGH ~ REGARD FOR HIS PHYSICAL AND MENTAL WELLBEING..THEREFOR IT IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED AS WELL AS MANDITORY THAT YOU BUST DOWN 4 TIMES A WEEK FOR 1 HOUR A DAY..13. A N. WILL TEACH AND SCHOOL THOSE DESTINED TO THE PINTA..AT NO TIME WILL ANY PORTION OF THESE POLACIES BE MISINTERPRETED ABUSED OR USED FOR PERSONAL GAIN TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN SERIOUS REPROCUSSIONS..14. A N. WILL ESTABLISH A BRANCH IN UNION WITH ALL THESE SET PROCEDURES, MEANING UNDERSTANDING AND ACKNOWLEDGEING SAID PROCEDURES ARE MANDITORY....CON ESO ES TODO C/R

The Rise and Fall of the Nuestra Familia

1 Comments:

Anonymous James Dean said...

I would be very interested to know what happens to the other defendants.

2:23 AM

 

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