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LOS SANTOS — A Hawick man will receive leniency for pleading guilty to drug trafficking charges in a case related to the massive 2019 indictment aimed at the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang, court records show. Matthew D. Shaw, 35, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to distribute at least 100 grams of heroin, a federal offense, in an April 26 hearing before Chief District Judge Samuel F. Drew, court records show. In exchange, federal prosecutors agreed to seek a “low-end guidelines sentence” against Shaw, who faces a minimum of five years in prison. The plea agreement with Shaw required him to sign a document acknowledging he sold a total of 368 grams of heroin — or 0.8 pounds — to an undercover agent over eight months, drugs he was reportedly receiving from his co-defendant, Gerardo Vincente Lopez. Shaw admitted that on Feb. 17, 2016, he drove to a BurgerShot in West Vinewood to pick up drugs from Lopez, then met the undercover agent in the power tool aisle of the Tools4Less in Hawick, where he gave the agent a quarter-pound of heroin in exchange for $2,950. Shaw was investigated by the Los Santos Police Department in June 2015, when he started selling heroin to the agent, according to the plea agreement. During the eight-month investigation that followed, authorities not only identified Shaw’s suspected supplier but “obtained wiretaps which resulted, in part in the evidence” that led to the 2019 bust of Aryan Brotherhood prison gang, prosecutors said in court records. In court records filed in 2019, prosecutors said the investigation into Shaw led investigators to an alleged Los Santos heroin ring run by Beverly Cross, who also allegedly sold heroin to an undercover agent. At the time, authorities say Cross was in regular contact with Paul Matthews Tucker 58, an alleged leader of the Aryan Brotherhood who was serving a life sentence in the maximum-security San Andreas Correctional Facility. The Aryan Brotherhood has been confined to federal and state prison Security Housing Units under 24 hour lockdown for decades but the increased restrictions have done little to prevent the gang's influence from spreading. Public Enemy Number One, a skinhead street and prison gang, took over the role as soldiers for the Aryan Brotherhood in the mid 2000s and by all accounts continue to enforce the Aryan Brotherhood's rule even today. Violent assaults, murders, thefts, drug trafficking, fraud and the sale of illegal firearms have funded the Aryan Brotherhood's rise to their current heights in the criminal underworld and despite law enforcement's best efforts continue unabated. OOC: The White Car aims to depict a realistic, authentic and character-driven depiction of the California white street and prison gang culture. If you wish to role play with us please do so by finding our characters in-game and roleplay with us. The White Car is an umbrella faction which encompasses multiple local, state-wide and prison based skinhead, peckerwood and white gangs. You do not need to be a member of any one specific gang to be a part of the White Car, but rather role play with the white gang community as a whole. All questions can be directed to Marvin_Redman.
HOMEGIRLS x HOMEBOYS Developing Female Characters for Gang RP "You claim your barrio. You claim your hood. You claim your boyfriend. You claim something that is yours, that is really valuable to you." (T-Rex, a.k.a. Trinidad, speaking to Norma Mendoza-Denton) * * * CONTENTS 1. Introduction 2. Big Trends for Homegirls 3. State of Research 4. Motivations for Involvement 5. The Male Connection 6. Homegirl Typology 7. Putting in Work 8. Initiation Rituals 9. Prison 10. Machismo x Marianismo 11. Everyday Tension 12. Joining a Gang Faction 13. Sources * * * 1. INTRODUCTION This is a summary of what I've learned from recent research on girls and women involved with the street gangs of California and Texas. I focused on Hispanic Los Angeles and young women in male-dominated gangs. This is mostly about developing female characters, but you can also get ideas for the dynamics between male and female characters in gang RP. This isn't about surface level femininity and masculinity, this is about the deeper connections between characters and what links them to their communities and gangs. I'm also interested in girls and women who maybe aren't full gang members, so when I say "homegirl" we're talking about a few different types. A lot of this info can apply to other gang cultures, but gender roles feel stricter in Hispanic gangs. I hope you can find some ideas here to inspire your RP. Thanks for reading! 2. BIG TRENDS FOR HOMEGIRLS They are linked to their gang through male relatives, male friends, male romantic partners. Their status in the gang is linked to the rank/respect of their male connection. They are from the same neighbourhood as their gang. They don't become leaders in their own right, but they can be influential representatives for shotcallers. Even the "tomboys" are rarely shooting guns, and violent activities will be led by their homeboys. 3. STATE OF RESEARCH Please skip this paragraph if you just want the info! I’ve listed all my sources at the end. This is pre-pandemic research. I've tried to avoid journalists and amateur writers to focus on academic work because California is home to some of the oldest gangs and biggest universities in the world, so there’s a long tradition of high quality gang research that digs real deep and doesn't get enough love. A journalist might get the story after it happens, but many academics immerse themselves through local programs and conduct multiple interviews with active members over many months or years. To me it looks like you need a lot of interviews before people get real. Honestly there isn't much research on female gang members/associates, probably because they don't get arrested as much as their homeboys and are less likely to get involved in gunplay or violence. Sometimes their homeboys don't let them get interviewed (Latino gang members seem more protective/controlling than black or white gang members). Lots of this research was conducted directly in neighbourhoods and schools, not through the correctional system or courts. There is so much propaganda and sensationalist content out there about gangs, but these research techniques treat them like a legitimate cultural and economic phenomenon. The female side is a whole world that seems to be invisible to the authorities, but the authorities are probably too busy with the male side. In California there doesn't seem to be any all-female drug trafficking gangs or prison gangs, so a key element is their dynamic with the men in their lives. 4. MOTIVATIONS FOR INVOLVEMENT What's anyone's motivation for joining a culture? You're born and raised in it. If you're getting involved with these types of street gangs, you grew up in the gang's neighbourhood. Even if you're an immigrant, your family would have moved into the neighbourhood when you were still a child. But female gang members will usually be born to U.S.-born parents (parents from Mexico and Latin America are more likely to keep girls inside and away from gangs). Family, barrio, hood, gang, it can all be the same thing. James Diego Vigil writes "Latino culture is commonly known to value the institution of the family, and gang members, both males and females, carry on this tradition, but in a warped, readapted version of the original." Family expectations are much stricter for girls, so girls from non-gang families are more likely to be kept at home and away from the gang. But if her parents are gang-affiliated, she might be expected to uphold gang traditions. Girls from gang-affiliated families are "labelled before their involvement in the gang has even begun". Everyone just expects them to be involved one day. If they're spending time with relatives who are gang members, this explains how they get "blessed in". These girls were involved before they knew what that meant. Family life is the key factor for gang involvement and "girls tend to come from even more stressed family situations than boys" according to work by Avelardo Valdez and Vigil. This can mean neglectful or abusive family situations. One study found the majority of girls involved in gangs had run away from home, but this wasn't true for the boys. Many girls ran away multiple times. One girl explained: "My homies will always find me a place to stay when shit gets too bad at home." Another says: "We're like one big family" and "They were always there for me." A girl nicknamed Tiny said abuse at home "is a lot of why I was down in the projects everyday just kicking it. I never wanted to go home. So I would just be out on the streets getting shot at, getting budded out, and kicking it with my homeboys." Traditionally masculine (machismo) type motivations like power and money don't seem to be the big factor for girls. Many of them seem to be joining for protection, belonging, community, family. These can be seen as traditionally feminine (marianismo) motivations. Female involvement has increased over the hundred years of Los Angeles gang history. Mexican-American girls used to be raised by parents and grandparents with no gang connections. Now there are more parents and grandparents passing down gang traditions. Open the spoiler below to see why girls get involved in their own words, when talking to researchers. There is a key trend: 5. THE MALE CONNECTION Girls aren't getting involved with a gang full of people they don't even know. All the girls in the Avelardo Valdez study were "integrated into the male gangs through their relationships with the male members" and 43% had boyfriends involved in a gang. They also reported having friends, brothers, cousins, and other relatives involved. I'll summarize 3 types of homegirls based on their male connection. These are like character backgrounds or origin stories, and multiple types can apply to the same character. Relatives: Girls born into gang-affiliated families make up nearly 80% of all female gang members according to Vigil's "The Projects". So getting involved might not even be a choice, but just something that naturally happens over time. It's like getting involved in the family business. If your family members are getting arrested, harrassed by police, or attacked by rival gangs, you might start seeing things like a gang member sees them. The gang and your family are the same thing. If you're helping your family day-to-day, you're already involved. Friends: If you grew up in a gang neighbourhood, you probably grew up with boys who became gang members. These could be your childhood friends. You probably know each other's families. If you keep spending time with them, you could get drawn into their world. The vibe is similar to being a relative. Girlfriends: These are girls in long-term monogamous relationships with male gang members. They often have children together, which is a big reason why they're less involved in street activity than other types of girls. They are respected for their loyalty to their man. They're usually childhood friends of gang members before dating them, so they aren't new to the neighbourhood. For all 3 types, influence and respect is linked to the status and rank of the male connection. Whatever level of gang activity your male connection is involved in, you could be expected to support or help him in some way. If your male connection rises all the way to the top, which probably means he becomes incarcerated and integrated into a prison gang, you could become his secretary or senora, his hand on the streets. It's like an ancient queen ruling the kingdom when her husband is away at war. I'll say a quick word on female cliques. The vibe I'm picking up is that female cliques are rare and mostly just labels that mean "the homegirls", they're not carrying out lots of girls-only activity, they're mostly working with the male gang members. Female gang members will often be in the male clique based on age. The male connection is the big factor for most gang activity. 6. HOMEGIRL TYPOLOGY There are different types of girls and women involved with these street gangs. I've summarized the types described by several researchers. These aren't official names used on the street, there is so much slang that gets used differently in different places. These "types" are just to give you ideas for characters. One character might be several types at once. The Good Girl Type You might not expect these girls to get involved with a gang, but in Hispanic street gangs there are many benefits to being seen as feminine in a more traditional way. These are the "school girls" with "conventional lifestyles" staying out of trouble. Well, that's how it appears on the surface. These are probably the ones most likely to get blessed in, and they might be the most common type overall. These are the girls that male gang members want to date and marry. Being "good" makes them valuable for lowkey work behind the scenes. Being "good" doesn't mean they're nice, it just means they aren't getting their hands dirty like the boys. And "good" doesn't need to mean "well behaved" in the traditional sense. Almost all the girls in the Valdez study had used drugs and about 60% had run away from home at least once. One of the girlfriends in the study said: "I like to hang out with the guys. We just kick back, smoke out, and have fun." While many homeboys expect to be active gang members until they die, it's easier for homegirls to become inactive. This is common if they become mothers, but they can always be pulled back in by their connections, including their own children one day. They are often lowkey, inactive, dormant, in hibernation waiting for the right season to bloom. This type of homegirl will rarely be arrested or attract police attention. If her male connections are incarcerated, she might be visiting them and keeping them connected to the neighbourhood. She might hide guns or drugs for her male connection or even hide him at her place, but she's not carrying a gun around or handling business on the street. She might be helping with drugs behind the scenes, but she's avoiding violence. For GTA RP an example of a good girl type would be a character from a gang neighbourhood that is involved in a lot of legal/civilian RP, but is still regularly RPing with active gang members while trying to avoid the attention of government factions or hostile gang factions. To be useful to the gang, the important thing is that she's seen as a normal girl attending school or working a legal job. Her male connection probably feels protective and wants to keep her out of jail/prison. If he's always known her as "good", especially if there's romantic feelings, he'll probably want her to stay like that. There can be tension if she starts acting like a tomboy. But if a tomboy becomes a good girl (like by becoming a mother) that's less of a problem in the eyes of her homeboys. The line between good girl and tomboy is blurred. This can be a big source of development for characters. I believe RPing this type of character can be very dynamic and suspenseful, because RPing around the edge of the darker elements of the gang makes those elements more intense and mysterious. Good girl types also serve an important role in giving extra meaning to the RP of other gang members. They can represent why the neighbourhood is worth fighting for, and be a reminder of peaceful times. The Tomboy Type Even if a homegirl is involved in traditionally male types of gang activity, she's not the same as a male gang member. There are no female prison gangs in California, so the more tomboyish a tomboy becomes, the more likely she is to get taken out of the game. The balance between feminine and masculine is a difficult line to walk. Most likely a tomboy will be in a supportive role. One advantage a female gang member has is that many people, including cops, won't see her as a threat compared to the male gang members. The relationship to violence is complicated by this. Female gang members might carry guns, but most of the time these guns are meant to be used by the male gang members. One East L.A. example of the tomboy type could be Mayra as described by James Diego Vigil. She grew up in an abusive household. She moved out and made her own money. She became a respected female gang member known for her fighting abilities and got involved in regular gang activity. She always had a gun on her, but it was for her homeboys to use. She would hide guns and drugs in her purse or bra when the authorities were around. On rare occasions she would use the gun herself, but she was able to avoid attention by not having a reputation for violence. Eventually she became inactive because she became pregnant. "That's when I changed," she said. "Now that I have my son I have to think about him, I don't even party anymore." The most extreme example of a tomboy could be Loca, from the same study. One of her homeboys said: "She has a shaved head and everything. She dresses like a guy and has two tattoos of clowns on her neck. She's down. She'll throw it down with guys, she doesn't give a fuck." But by becoming more "like a guy" Loca is more likely to get arrested and won't be an active gang member anymore. Her homeboys will still be active in prison, and meanwhile the more traditionally feminine gang members like Mayra will still be on the street carrying a gun. James Diego Vigil and Mendoza-Denton show that gang affiliated girls will change into a masculine style of clothing if they're expecting fights or violence. But most tomboys probably won't be like Loca with the shaved head, most tomboys will probably be acting more feminine or more masculine according to what they're doing. Maybe they go with a more feminine vibe at home, at church, or partying. Even on the streets a tomboy like Mayra might have a purse to hide a gun or drugs, and if she appears too masculine (like Loca) she could get the wrong attention from cops or rival gangs. The Senora Type Acting more "like a guy" isn't the female path to power. A gang member like Loca is less likely to rise to the top than Mayra, and they're probably both less likely than a good girl type. If you're looking to RP a female gang leader, the senora type, your character might want to stay out of prison. And if you're RPing a male gang leader, your character might want to find a good senora to stand by his side. Testimony from a former Mexican Mafia member (US vs Loza) suggests this is an emerging trend for incarcerated underworld bosses, who rely on their wives and girlfriends to carry out their will on the streets. Senoras can also be sisters, daughters, or other female relatives. They can collect taxes on behalf of imprisoned leadership, direct business, distribute drugs, and order violence. That's just the ultimate example, since most senora types will be supporting lower ranked gang members, but the same ideas apply: every female character probably knows her male connection will be arrested one day and that's when she can hold it down for him on the outside. She can become his link to the streets, she can deliver messages, handle his money, handle his commissary, even smuggle things in for him. This is why a senora type most likely started as a good girl type, because avoiding the most dangerous gang activity will keep her free to act on behalf of her male connection. Even if he's free and out on the streets, she can still handle his business in the shadows. Male gang members with their own senora type should have an advantage over their rivals. One early example of a top senora was allegedly Raisin of Florencia 13, who joined the gang as a 10 year old. Her uncles were gang members and she grew up in the gang's neighbourhood. One older gang member, possibly from her uncles' generation (and so maybe feeling like her uncle) declared himself her protector, and when he was imprisoned he became Florencia's leader. The one charge on Raisin's file suggests she played a part in smuggling drugs for the gang. But like many female gang members, she became inactive after having children, but inactive members can be useful in ways active members can't. She was working as a real estate agent when she was given the "key" to the neighbourhood by her adoptive uncle: the imprisoned Florencia leader. I'd say she started off as the good girl type, which is exactly what made her a good senora. Unlike a parolee, she could avoid attention and suspicion. And unlike the man she replaced, she probably wasn't going to tax the wrong people or go around Florencia hoods raping girls. She was a business woman, she could handle money, she was a respected mother, but she also grew up with homies who could handle the streets while she pretended to be an ordinary real estate agent. If she had been seen as too masculine or like a "hood rat", she wouldn't have been a better choice than a male parolee or other gang member. This is just one story from Los Angeles Magazine, but Raisin's story matches what we see in other examples studied by scholars like David Skarbek. In the violent world of gang politics, an imprisoned shotcaller could feel threatened by the "machismo" of his lieutenant running free in his neighbourhood. In contrast I believe the Florencia shotcaller saw Raisin as an embodiment of "marianismo" and traditional feminine loyalty who would not betray him. The shotcaller knows many male gang members are looking to make money for themselves, but a "good" woman is expected to make money for her family. Raisin is the shotcaller's family, therefore she's a better tax collector than a male gang member. Raisin was a rare example back in the day, but I think this mentality explains why paranoid crime lords are now becoming more likely to trust wives, girlfriends, and female relatives to run operations on the street. There is a possible 4th type: the party girl type. But she's not a homegirl. I'm really not talking about party girls in this guide. They don't have deep connections with male gang members, they're just girls who party with the gang. Some might call them "hoodrats" and consider them to be sexually available. This is probably where a lot of the "sexed in" rumours come from, but these girls are viewed completely differently than the other 3 types. One gang member in Vigil's studies said: "We wouldn't bust a train on a school girl. That would be fucked up." So there can be a code of gang machismo that protects the other 3 types of girl. This guide is really about the homegirls who are protected by that code. Research by Laidler/Hunt shows homegirls use homeboys to "keep aggressive male members in check", and the Raisin story suggests this is a code of chivalry/honour that was taken seriously by major Hispanic gangs like Florencia 13 and the Mexican Mafia. It can also be bad for business if members of the same operation are killing each other. Raping "school girls" and generally disrespecting OGs in Florencia territory might have ended the careers of at least one tax collecting crew. But for female characters I think the super big key element here is the male connection: being close to a male gang member gets you involved and gains you protection. 7. PUTTING IN WORK: LOWKEY vs HIGHKEY Most women and girls involved with gangs are less involved with the crime and violence that captures attention. But the lowkey work is important to gang structure and can explain why some gangs have such deep roots and have survived for a hundred years. According to a study of housing projects in East Los Angeles: "The girlfriends, sisters, mothers, sexual partners, and homegirls of gang members are not merely passive auxiliaries to the males but in fact serve a variety of initiatory and supportive functions." The good girl and senora types would be involved with more lowkey work, and the tomboy types would be more involved with highkey work. The danger of highkey work is attracting attention from law enforcement. Many homeboys think "I'll either be dead or doing life by this time next year" (quoted from a 17 year old), but incarceration means potential prison gang involvement and advancement in the underworld hierarchy. But for homegirls, gang activity and advancement is put on pause when they're incarcerated. Kings can be made in prison, but queens can't. The Valdez study was able to survey gang activity from what I'd call good girls and tomboys. The senora types wouldn't be talking to researchers. Here's the percentage of girls who had helped male gang members with different activities: 55% held drugs 31% sold drugs 27% held weapons 24% shoplifted 19% carjacked 19% sold weapons 14% stole cars 13% broke into houses/buildings 12% robbed 12% engaged in "other" activities Look how many girls were holding drugs and weapons. The study says homegirls were "considered a safe haven for hiding the gang's weapons that were often discarded or destroyed after being used." And male gang members' "personal weapons were also held by these girls since the guys were always at risk for being stopped and searched by the police, especially if they were identified as gang members by the police". These are examples of lowkey work that even the good girl types might be doing. Hiding something is easier when you don't draw attention. Selling drugs could also be lowkey, as the Valdez study says girls were usually selling to "other female close friends and relatives". There is a lot of "work" that doesn't show up on these lists and surveys, mostly because it happens behind closed doors. This could be simply supporting a male partner or relative in daily domestic work, or this could be counting money, preparing drugs for sale, and generally handling behind-the-scenes aspects of money-making schemes. Many types of work might be seen as simply ways to help a friend, relative, or romantic partner. The line between family, gang, and community can be blurred. The most important lowkey work might be visiting incarcerated male gang members in prison and handling their affairs. I say "lowkey" in this case because it isn't obviously illegal in the way a burglary would be. Skarbek's research, which supports Rene Enriquez's 2018 testimony, shows women are increasingly becoming responsible for managing street gangs on behalf of incarcerated shotcallers. These "senora" types are increasingly responsible for managing crews of tax collectors, managing tax funds, ordering assaults or murders, and distributing drugs. They are sometimes referred to as "female shotcallers" but they are still taking direction and receiving their authority from the incarcerated shotcallers, who are often prison gang members. This trend is strong in the Sureno underworld, but it could also be an effective system for other types of gangs. In some cases the senora, who perhaps has too much of a criminal history herself, will have a "secretary" (who you can think of as another lower ranked senora type or good girl type) who conveys information between the senora and her male connection in prison. The important factor for the woman making the visits is that she doesn't have a big criminal record or visible tattoos. These visits can also be a good opportunity to smuggle in drugs, and although one study described this as more of a tomboy thing, the tomboy would probably still want to be more traditionally feminine, more like Mayra than Loca. Smuggling drugs in for a homeboy is similar to holding his gun all the time. 8. INITIATION RITUALS It might not be obvious when you're initiated into a gang as a member, and a female character can play an important role without acting like a male gang member. Gang and neighbourhood identity can get all mixed up together. Norma Mendoza-Denton’s interviews found that some Hispanic youth identified with gangs even if they weren’t “jumped in” or fully initiated members. If they lived in a gang neighbourhood, they would claim the local gang and would fight the enemies of their neighbourhood. The authorities had trouble identifying the real gang members. Mendoza-Denton describes it like being supporters of a sports team. This could describe the relationship some homegirls have with their homeboys before they get more involved. Nearly half the girls interviewed by Avelardo Valdez didn't get involved in "delinquent" activity in their first 2 years associated with a gang, but staying lowkey also creates opportunities to help a gang in other ways. The most powerful women will be lowkey enough to act on behalf of incarcerated gang leaders. Queens and princesses keep their hands clean. Clara Saavedra’s research describes several initiation options which should be familiar to gang RPers. Girls can be jumped in by female gang members or male gang members, or just walked in (blessed in). They can also have a one-on-one fight with a current gang member (fair fighting), commit a physical assault against a rival gang member, or commit any other illegal act to prove they're down. Vigil's research suggests only girls will jump in other girls, but it sounds like most girls (up to 80%) get blessed in because of family. They also might pass a test without even realizing they're being tested. A girl might smuggle drugs for her brother without realizing this is how the homeboys will decide she's down for the gang. It's about that male connection. Getting “sexed in” doesn’t seem to be a thing these days. The most detailed examples of sexual initiation I found were from outside Hispanic California. These seem to be new/unorganized gangs with weaker connections between gang members and the community. This vibe is different from Hispanic gangs that have existed for generations in the same neighbourhoods where everyone knows each other. Any Latina doing work for these gangs is probably either respected as a relative/girlfriend/wife (putting in lowkey work) or respected as a “tomboy” (putting in work like the homeboys). Many of the stories about “promiscuous girls” treated like "sex objects" are probably just unconnected girls who are partying with the gang but have no deeper involvement. When a homeboy talks about “running a train” on a girl, he’s not talking about a girl who is featured in a lot of the newer research. Gang machismo can be about sexual conquest, but it can also be about acting protective. Abusing a girl means disrespecting any homeboy connected to her. When a male gang member abuses the wrong girl, his own homeboys can come together to punish him. Studies talk about these girls having protection from sexual violence. They often join the gang to escape abuse at home. 9. PRISON In 2017, only 5% of California's prison population was female. Male gang members will gain more options for advancement in prison, but the opposite happens for their homegirls. For male inmates, prison gangs can represent the top of their hierarchy, giving them opportunities for deeper involvement in the politics and economics of the criminal underworld. For female inmates, they are cut off from the street life and gang activity. Female prison gangs don't exist in California according to David Skarbek's "Social Order of the Underworld". Here are some quotes from female inmates in his study: "There's more of a formal system with the men; they assume their roles and they know their positions. With women, it's not like that." "We are not like the men, because we learn to live with each other. We communicate. It is not a racial thing in here." Instead of organizing into gangs or cars, female inmates come together in "pairs or small families" that act more like "nuclear family units", where older inmates will mentor younger inmates. These families are much more casual and temporary, there is less violence, and rarely any weapons. Vigil and Diane Rodriguez found "a significant number of women and girls who are involved in gangs" in the prison system with an estimated 80% of one Los Angeles female facility being incarcerated for "gang-related" reasons. Gang identities might have led to their incarceration, but that no longer defines them inside the system. This creates an interesting challenge for any female character cut off from her gang. Maybe it's a relief, maybe it feels like exile, maybe it changes her perspective being separated from it. But the most powerful gang-affiliated women are not female inmates, the most powerful are female visitors to male inmates. Underworld princesses and queens visiting their king. We're talking about the senora types: women with strong personal links to incarcerated shotcallers and prison gang members, who are able to act on their behalf on the streets. So prison is very important for both male and female characters, just in different ways. 10. MACHISMO x MARIANISMO What makes a good woman or a good man? What does your character think? What did your character's parents teach them? Growing up, who did they look up to? Gang culture for male gang members can be described as an extreme or twisted type of masculinity. This probably applies to most gangs and types of organized crime, but Avelardo Valdez argues that "Mexican American culture reinforced by social context magnifies the differences between genders to a greater degree than many other cultures." Machismo (masculine) and marianismo (feminine) are two ways of looking at old school gender roles in Mexican/Hispanic/Chicano culture. Ideal men are physically strong, energetic, protective, aggressive, openly sexual and promiscuous. Ideal women are mentally strong, spiritual, submissive, selfless, sexually chaste and loyal. Men exist in public, women exist at home with the family. For many immigrant families, this meant the boys were allowed outside, where they could be recruited by gangs, but girls were kept inside. A "school girl" goes to school but she might not be allowed to join extracurricular sports or clubs after class, she would have to go straight home to study and help her family. But after multiple generations, when the definition of family changes to include the gang and neighbourhood, "help her family" also means "help her gang". Any girl with marianismo is girlfriend material for a gang member. One L.A. gang member in Vigil's study said: "I want a nice girl who is smart and can talk to me and really understand my feelings. One that can take care of her family and everything. I don't want to be with one of them hood rats." And "take care of her family" might mean having children with a male gang member. Many girls interviewed in these studies see pregnancy as the way to make their love last forever. Some girls get upset if their boyfriend uses a condom, because they see condoms as symbols of "one night" instead of "together forever". The idea of "forever" is also important to these young men who expect to die in their 20s. By having children who are raised by "a nice girl who is smart" they ensure their legacy lives on. Having a child is like getting your name up on a mural. Machismo and marianismo can be restrictive and damaging concepts for both men and women. We can see dark sides and romantic sides to these ideals. The dark side of machismo is dead and incarcerated men, just as the dark side of marianismo is women devoted to harmful men or young mothers raising children alone. The romantic side of machismo can be chivalry and honour, protective men who provide for their families. The romantic side of marianismo can be loyal women nurturing their family spiritually and holding communities together. The Laidler/Hunt study suggests many homegirls dislike "aggressive attempts to make them conform to more traditional notions of feminity, including sexual chastity, staying at home, cooking, and looking after children" but "defying or resisting these expectations can be severe, involving violence." But the same study also found girls often look down on other girls for not acting feminine according to the gang's definition. This tension can fuel RP. 11. EVERYDAY TENSION Homegirls will be coping with lowkey tension and fears every day, but I'm not talking about rival gangs or police. Lowkey tension is easy for us to overlook, but it can be a powerful element in your development and storyline. If you're RPing a female character, think about your background and your inner thoughts and feelings. Think about the side of your RP that won't appear in emotes or dialogue. If you're a girl involved with a gang, you have probably experienced physical or sexual abuse, and there's a good chance your own family did it to you. This trauma can stay with you, this trauma might define all your future relationships, and is probably a factor in why you want to get out of your house and join the gang. To repeat an earlier quote: "My homies will always find me a place to stay when shit gets too bad at home." But your ability to earn this protection depends on how well you fit that marianismo/feminine ideal. As discussed in the "Homegirl Typology" section, you get protection from the gang if you're a good girl, tomboy, or senora type. These are three different types of gang-approved femininity. But if you act too masculine, show disloyalty, or act promiscuous, you won't get protection. And your male connection might try to force you to be "feminine" and fit one of these 3 types, or else his own status will be in jeopardy, and he won't be able to protect you anymore. Homeboys are more likely to be killed by a rival gang, homegirls are more likely to be killed by their homeboys, especially their boyfriends. (60% of Latina homicide victims were killed by romantic partners.) It can be a strange and confusing vibe: you're seeking protection, love, and friendship from the people most likely to hurt you. This can create a strong pressure to obey marianismo. This is how you protect yourself, but this is also how you protect your male connection. You have to be feminine in the correct way, he has to be masculine in the correct way, and this protects both of you in the eyes of the gang. You might even push him to be more masculine. As a woman, you might tell him "act like a man" because you need him to have respect to protect you. If you're tied to this underworld culture, a key element that gets overlooked is: there is no escape from the world of men. Although you might try, like by putting yourself through school, moving away, cutting old ties. (Having a child might help, but Raisin shows how neighbourhood roots can pull you back.) Economically you might need to rely upon men (just as these men might need to rely upon the gang). Certainly if you want love, you have no choice but to love men, even if statistically they are most likely to kill you. (And if your man does kill you, there's a 50% chance it'll be by bullet, 25% by knife.) You can't magically become a lesbian to avoid men, and even if you were a lesbian (a rare situation), you would want to hide that. In all my research, the only examples of lesbians I could find were basically hoodrat types in black gangs who were treated like sex objects. 12. JOINING A GANG FACTION If you're looking to create a new female character and get involved, I recommend you check the gang faction threads and see who is RPing where, get a feel for the neighbourhood, see what their guidelines and expectations are. Some factions will tell you how to contact them OOCly, so that you can discuss character concepts before RPing with them. For street gang factions I think this is super helpful. This can be a solution to the awkward situation of two characters meeting ICly for the first time when they should have grown up together. I would only recommend RPing family with people you've RPed with before, since your characters will share so much backstory. You could also run with a backstory where your character (who is under 18 years old) grew up in the neighbourhood, but was sent to live with a relative somewhere because of problems at home. So when you come back after a few years, your character is moving back in with relatives who've been in the neighbourhood for a long time. That connection is so important. Most of the time I'd recommend starting with a good girl type. Even if your character isn't really like that, or she's looking to escape that vibe, this is how gang members would see her. This gives you story arc potential. This gives you backstory explanations for why the gang hasn't seen you around much: your family has been keeping you inside, you've been going to school, keeping out of trouble. Gang members who grew up in the neighbourhood would realistically remember seeing you around, remember taking a few classes with you before they started skipping, that type of thing. 13. SOURCES Norma Mendoza-Denton (University of California) "Homegirls: Language and Cultural Practice Among Latina Youth Gangs" (Blackwell, 2008) Avelardo Valdez (University of Houston) "Mexican American Girls and Gang Violence: Beyond Risk" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) James Diego Vigil (University of California) "Female Gang Members from Los Angeles" International Journal of Social Inquiry, Volume 1 Number 1 2008 pp. 47-74 James Diego Vigil, "The Projects: Gang and Non-Gang Families in East Los Angeles", University of Texas Press, 2007 David Skarbek, "Social Order of the Underworld" (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014) Karen Laidler & Geoffrey Hunt, "Situations of Violence in the Lives of Girl Gang Members" in Health Care for Women International, 22:363–384, 2001 Katherine Quinn, Julia Dickson-Gomez, Michelle Broaddus, and Maria Pacella, "Running Trains and Sexing-In: The Functions of Sex Within Adolescent Gangs" in Youth & Society, 2019 Mar; 51(2): 151–169. Eryn Nicole O’Neal, Scott H. Decker, Richard K. Moule Jr., and David C. Pyrooz, "Girls, Gangs, and Getting Out: Gender Differences and Similarities in Leaving the Gang" in Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 2014 Joan Moore & John Hagedorn, Female Gangs: A Focus on Research, Juvenile Justice Bulletin, U.S. Department of Justice, March 2001 Alexia Cooper & Erica L. Smith, "Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008", U.S. Department of Justice (November 2011, NCJ 236018) Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Valaree Carrasco, “Female Gang Participation: Causes and Solutions” in Poverty & Prejudice: Gang Intervention and Rehabilitation, June 2, 1999 Clara Saavedra, M.A., "The Initiation Process and Factors Associated with Adolescent Female Gang Membership" (graduate school paper, supervised by John Rodriguez) University of Texas at Arlington, May 2015 Díaz-Cotto, J. (2006). Chicana lives and criminal justice: Voices from el barrio. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. Miller, J. (2001). One of the guys: Girls, gangs, and gender. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Young, T., Fitzgibbons, W., & Silverstone, D. (2014). A question of family? Youth and gangs. Youth Justice, 14(2), 171-185 "California's Prison Population" Public Policy Institute of California, July 2019 United States of America vs. Loza et al, September 12, 2018 (No. CR 16-360 (A)-RGK) Sam Quinones, "The Queen of Florencia", Los Angeles Magazine, September 25, 2017 * * * I'm happy to answer questions or summarize things in the comments! Thanks for reading!
GUIDE TO PAISA ROLEPLAY @Freedom Fighter, @EGN & @Nuke Introduction Understanding Narco culture USA Paisa Prison culture & Paisa Gangs USA based Paisa plenipotentiaries Females in the Narco underworld Summary Everything above is what you can expect to read about and learn in this guide, the guide itself will be kept somewhat short but still detailed enough to give people a deep insight to how they should roleplay their characters. This guide will be simply what it’s intended for, a guide, so don’t expect me to hold your hand and give you a step by step walkthrough. INTRODUCTION Hey there, if you’re reading this then it’s probably because you want to know more about roleplaying a Mexican National, if so there’s a lot of stuff you need to know about roleplay as a person involved in the Paisa criminal underworld. It can get very tricky and complex, to a point that a lot of stuff can actually get confusing. We’ve personally been roleplaying in the Paisa scene for years and a lot of our knowledge has been gathered through external sources, reading between the lines, speaking to certain individuals that have grown up around Narco traffickers etc, although we’re not experts on the subject, we do believe our knowledge is enough to justify reasoning to make this. Also, lil tip it’s pronounced “Pie-sa”, “Pie-sa-no”, “Pie-sa-na”. UNDERSTAND NARCO CULTURE Understanding Narco culture can be quite confusing at times, especially if you don’t know an awful lot about the background of Mexico, and how traffickers evolved from individual plaza (turf) bosses running their own designated sections, to eventually being aligned to many of the different cartels throughout the country. The thing with Narco traffickers is, at the very beginning they were all mostly from the state of Sinaloa, and keep this in your head because it plays a major connection a bit further into this guide, but originally it was plaza bosses running their own little turfs until Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo had a bright idea to form Mexico’s first Narco commission, which became known as the Guadalajara Cartel; Mexico’s very first legitimate “Cartel”. But the major thing about this? The Guadalajara Cartel didn’t just become powerful due to having plaza bosses operating as a union under them, quite the opposite, sure it was a part in their power uprise but if it wasn’t for the Dirección Federal de Seguridad (DFS) the Guadalajara Cartel wouldn’t have been anything. The DFS is sort of like the CIA of Mexico, but the FBI at the same time. You’re probably wondering why I’m giving you this rundown, well it’s pretty simple because the Cartels in Mexico are usually backed by someone; the most powerful ones that is. It’s not hard to figure this out of course, but another major part of understanding Narco culture, especially in the modern day and age is to understand the political parties that are in Mexico. ] See, the thing is parties like MORENA and the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) are all allegedly backing Cartels to this very day in Mexico. Two examples of this is MORENA allegedly backing the Sinaloa Cartel and the PRI allegedly backing the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. This is one of the biggest issues when it comes to Narco roleplay, understanding the political parties, their goals and history because to fully understand the Narco underworld in Mexico, you first need to understand the political parties that run it. You remember The Zetas? The first group of mad men to turn Mexico’s Narco warfare into militarized combat? I’ll give you a few seconds to figure out how they managed to reign in huge control for almost a decade without any interference. That’s right, if you guessed the PRI then you know more than I thought you know already. See the PRI ruled Mexico through various presidential elections for decades upon decades, not losing a single one meaning they had control of the country, but when the MORENA party won one election it set off a ticking timebomb in the country that forever changed the criminal underworld in it. At the time the Zetas weren’t really known as the Zetas per say n were still coming up, and hadn’t fully found their identification yet but the PRI took note of them being Ex Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales (GAFES) and decided to manipulate it to their favour, helping a paramilitarized wing of the Gulf Cartel rise to power and eventually become their own thing once they split. Does this remind you of anything? That’s also right, if you guessed the Jalisco New Generation Cartel you know more than I thought you already knew. Just like the Z splitting from GAFES, Mencho split from the Milenio Cartel and with the PRI’s backing ended up forming CJNG. So I think by now you’re pretty versed in knowing that without political parties pulling strings, nothing would go. Now, you remember I mentioned Sinaloa priorly? Remember I said keep it in the back of your mind? Well that’s because most of these Cartels were once headed by Sinaloense Capos, who were mostly born in Badiraguato; described as Mexican Sicily. Sinaloa Cartel, Tijuana Organization, Juarez Organization etc were all founded by Sinaloan traffickers at one point in time. There’s also a common popular fashion trend in Mexico called Buchón/Buchóna fashion, this originated in Sinaloa and is now used country wide. The Buchón/Buchóna fashion trend was a way most Narco traffickers dressed, and eventually before you knew it, it became a common day trend among many people in the Mexican countryside and mountains. A contributing factor to the militarization of various drug cartels operating in Mexico is the recruitment of special forces, from both Mexico and other countries such as the Kaibiles of Guatemala. The majority of cartel operatives do not have military experience, and are instead trained by those who do. While the number of special forces who desert and join these organizations is generally low, the cartels supplement this by hiring police officers wherever they can. While it's rare for corrupt law enforcement to participate in crime in the United States, these cells filled entirely with Municipal police officers commit some of the most heinous murders and high profile kidnappings. Many "murder houses" were discovered to have been ran by such police cells. One's position in the organization depends on the skills a person provides for leadership such as logistical experience or business degrees. This assigns you to a position in the pyramid, the top dedicated to the most influential individuals and families controlling the entity itself. Once assigned a position it is very hard to rise above middle management, this could be equated to a lifetime position at a company but without the ability to move up to the very top. Despite what the media tells you, El Chapo was not the zenith of Sinaloa's hierarchy. They will also put their reputation behind other groups from south and central america, such as but not limited to Colombians, Cubans, Guatemalans, Panamanians and Venezuelans. They use such people who overstay their visas and remain illegally within Mexico to extort street vendors, clubs and taxi companies among many other businesses. This sophisticated scam is common throughout Latin America, known as 'gota a gota', offering small loans through Colombian front men and then begin to pressure more money by increasing the interest rates by %400 within only a few weeks. Another thing to keep in mind with the Narco underworld is that everyone is kept tabs on, what I mean by this is if you’re employed to work with a Cartel cell, chances are they already know more about you than you know about yourself. The reason for this is, it’s hugely beneficial for them to know who they’re employing, and when it comes to the fear factor, family and close friends are often threatened. Those with relatives are normally the ones that get second chances and stuff with their family being used as collateral, whilst those employed without relatives are usually given one shot and if they fuck up they’re tossed to the trash pile, the reasoning for this yet again is to ensure safety of the organization as a person who has something to lose is more likely to follow commands than someone who has nothing to lose would. "La Santa Muerte has crossed the US/Mexico Border for over a decade, accompanying her devotees on their arduous journeys north. Also known as La Flaquita (The Skinny One), La Niña Blanca (The White Girl), La Niña Negra (The Black Girl), Señora de las Sombras (Lady of the Shadows), La Huesuda (Bony Lady), La Niña Bonita (The Pretty Girl), La Madrina (The Godmother), and more reverently, La Santísima Muerte (The Most Holy Death), she is a beloved saint of dispossessed peoples. I first met Santa Muerte in 2002 during fieldwork with undocumented migrant transgender sex workers from Guadalajara, Mexico, who lived in San Francisco. Santa Muerte featured prominently on home altars in their single-room occupancy hotel rooms. I had not encountered the saint before and was surprised by her obvious importance in their lives. Thus began over a decade of following Santa Muerte to Mexico, California, the US/Mexico Border, and even small towns in northern Wisconsin. In the early years of my research, few people in Mexico would talk to me about her, and few in the US knew of her; she was either underground or unknown. Now, the Bony Lady is “out” and very visible. Since early 2000, worship has grown dramatically in Mexico and in the US, especially among migrants. I came to understand her popularity among migrants and LGBTQ communities in Mexico; she is associated with those living precarious lives and/or engaged in dangerous undertakings. What surprised me, however, was that government entities both in the US and in Mexico, shared my interest in the Bony Lady. The Drug Enforcement Agency, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Mexican government, and the Mexican military all actively oppose the worship of Santa Muerte. A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) law enforcement bulletin claims: “Santa Muerte informational training can prove so stressful for some law enforcement and public safety officers that they can become physically ill and pass out. This has happened more than once. Programs and writings concerning wellness and spirituality can provide ‘spiritual armor’”" The practice and worship of Santa Muerte is widely known for its crossing of Catholic symbology with indigenous beliefs featuring totems, amulets, curses and blessings as well as sacrifice. The most common and visual display of worship is the act of putting offerings to the spirit world in the form of an altar. This altar is commonly known as an ofrenda, used by Mexican peoples to celebrate Día de Muertos, a tradition dating back to the Aztecs. The ofrenda is usually a table adorned with fine and colorful fabrics with offerings of fruits, cigarettes, candies and alcohol. Central to the display is usually pictures of deceased family members, represented in spirit. In the worship of Santa Muerte, the ofrenda takes the form of an idol. Usually one depicted as a woman wearing a hooded robe, carrying a scythe and a globe. Different color schemes will represent different virtues or aspects of the Holy Death. This symbology is largely borrowed from medieval Spanish mythology, but the ritual itself derives from pagan worship common to the Americas and across the world. The ofrenda dedicated to Santa Muerte with her statues also has offerings, believed as sacrifice in exchange for boons such as good luck or protection from harm. Dedicated practitioners will perform blood sacrifice rituals, using animals such as pigs and chickens. Human sacrifice is known, and relatively common where criminals practice the religion. They do this with a fierce and zealous belief that this can protect them from the schemes of their enemies, protect drug shipments crossing U.S. customs but above all else they use Santa Muerte as a spiritual tool to enforce cohesion of their organization. Fear has been a driving force for controlling and subduing individuals initiated into any secret society or ancient mystery school. So too does the modern incarnation of such phenomena use these tools to brainwash and dominate those who work below them in the hierarchy. Jesús Malverde, possibly born as Jesús Juarez Mazo, sometimes known as the "Cjuba Lord", "angel of the poor", or the "narco-saint", is a folklore hero in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. He was of Yoreme and Spanish heritage. He is a "Robin Hood" figure who was supposed to have stolen from the rich to give to the poor. Malverde is a popular Mexican folk saint known as the unofficial patron saint of drug traffickers. Malverde also is known as the "Generous Bandit" and the "Angel of the Poor," said Robert Almonte, a law enforcement consultant who has extensively researched the "narco-saint" phenomenon who gave presentations at the El Paso seminar. The Mexican folk saint is popular with those in the drug trade but "you have people who are not involved in criminal activity that pray to him as the Angel of the Poor," Almonte explained. Malverde is depicted with black hair, a black mustache and looks a little like Clark Gable with a neckerchief. He is sometimes depicted holding money. His image can be found on everything from religious figurines, votive candles, key chains and T-shirts. Malverde is not recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church. The Malverde legends say he was a Mexican Robin Hood-type bandit who stole from the rich and gave to the poor in the late 1800s and early 1900s in the Pacific Coast state of Sinaloa. Sinaloa is the traditional fatherland for many groups in the region's drug trade that grew into the Mexican drug cartels. Drug traffickers adopted Malverde because they see themselves in the good-hearted bandit, Almonte said. “The Mexican cartels acknowledge 'we are doing a bad thing but more importantly we’re doing a bad thing for the right reasons; we’re helping the poor.' So, they adopted him as a patron saint," Almonte said. Almonte is a former U.S. marshal for the Western District of Texas and a retired deputy chief with the El Paso Police Department. He started researching saints revered by Mexican drug traffickers while working as a police narcotics officer in the 1980s. There is debate whether Juan Malverde ever actually existed. According to legends, Malverde was a bandit named Jesus Juárez Mazo, who wore green as camouflage to surprise and rob wealthy victims and would give to the poor in the mountains of Sinaloa. The Mexican government eventually caught Malverde and supposedly hanged him May 3, 1909. In the legend, miracles, such as finding lost objects, were attributed to Malverde. Believers pray to him for good luck, protection, health and other needs. The name Malverde is a combination of the Spanish words for "bad" (mal) and "green" (verde). By the 1970s, Mexican drug traffickers had adopted Malverde as their "patron saint," Almonte said. The legend of the folk saint was celebrated in ballads. "De Culiacan a Colombia, que viva Jesús Malverde, este santo del colgado que ha traido buena suerte," sang Los Cadetes de Linares on the "Corrido de Jesus Malverde." The ballad says, "From Culiacan to Colombia, long live Jesus Malverde, the hanged saint has brought good luck." Almonte said he first learned of Malverde in the early 1990s as belief in the folk saint spread deep into the United States. “I began noticing that not only was he popular along the Southwest border area, but I was getting officers in Minnesota, officers in Iowa, Wisconsin, telling me they are encountering Jesus Malverde in drug cases," Almonte said. USA PAISA PRISON CULTURE & PAISA GANGS This part of Paisa roleplay is often overlooked for some reason, but it can actually be the funnest experience you’ll ever have when it comes to Paisa roleplay. See the thing is, people see “Paisa” as a faction concept and automatically think about drug Cartel cells but don’t think about prison gangs or street gangs like the Border Brothers 22 prison gang, Barrio Azteca 21 prison gang, Paisa Tango prison gang, Varrio Paisa 5/Hill 22 street gang, Krazy Ass Paisas 16 street gang etc. But need not worry, I’m here to help you with that today! The first thing to do when looking at USA based Prison Organizations and Street Gangs is understand the fundamentals of it, and honestly? If you know how to roleplay Sureño, Norteño, Crip or Blood, then learning to roleplay a Paisa Street gang won’t be that hard. I won’t be writing how you should do gang roleplay here, because I’m sure there’s plenty of guides on the forums about that, instead I’m going to directly focus on what a Paisa Prison Organization or Street Gang is. The thing when it comes to Paisa Prison Organizations and Street Gangs is that you need to understand they don’t operate the same way most USA based Prison Organizations and Street Gangs do. Let me start off by explaining the USA Paisa Prison Organizations first, since it’ll get it out of the way and easier for you to understand one by one instead of me jumping back and forth nonstop between the both of them. Paisa (Mexican National) Prison Organizations in the United States of America are very different from your normal everyday Prison Organizations like the Aryan Brotherhood, Mexican Mafia, Nuestra Familia, Black Mafia Family, KUMI 415, Family Affiliated Irish Mafia etc. The reasoning behind this is because most of the inmates in State Penitentiaries and Federal Penitentiaries that rock the Paisa banner are immigrants that are locked up, or 1st/2nd generation Mexican-Americans with direct links to immigrants. Many organizations like the Paisa Tangos, Barrio Azteca 21, Border Brothers 22, Borrachos, etc were all formed by Mexican Nationals that came to the United States of America and ended up being locked up at either State or Federal level within the country. Although there’s a Paisa presence throughout the United States of America, the dominant presence is on the West Coast and Southern area of the United States as it’s where most ended up during lockup. Many Paisa Prison Organizations are also subsidiary drug distribution hubs for Cartels and are used on the outside with their individual crews to market and distribute narcotics at times. Paisa Prison Organizations, especially on the West Coast are usually allied and friendly with the Mexican Mafia due to cultural drives. Border Brothers Prison Gang The Border Brothers gang was founded in 1989 by Sergio Gonzalez-Martinez and others in Tijuana, Mexico and spread into San Andreas in 1990; recruiting criminal illegal immigrants in barrios across San Andreas, Arizona, Nevada, Denver and Tijuana Mexico. The organization runs the bulk of their operations through San Diego, Los Santos, Fresno and Oakland. The Border Brothers will often identify themselves through the letters BB or the number 22; as well as 2=B or XXII. It’s also not uncommon to see the depiction of a jaguar-shaped Aztec warrior god’s head, Ocelotl, encircled by flames, with eight elongated flames to depict their affiliation. Their clothing is another means to identify them, where members will most often dress in black or blue clothes, with bandanas. The Border Brothers are classified as one of the fastest growing STGs (Security Threat Groups), and are considered to have the highest and most validated members by the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Re-entry from their latest report. As such, they seem to work under two distinct branches: street and prison. The prison gang operates under a paramilitary structure of President, Vice President, generals, lieutenants, sergeants and soldiers, whilst the street gangs are more loosely organized. Some of the most important things that separates Border Brothers from other Latino criminal organizations is their utilization of a high number of “Paisas”; Mexican Nationals who live or become incarcerated in the US, usually on drug trafficking charges across country borders. This allowed the organization to operate under the radar by generating less controversy compared to Sureños and Norteños. This is achieved by staying quiet in the criminal sphere, keeping strictly to themselves, only speaking Spanish and not claiming territory (Pogrebin, Qualitative Approaches to Criminal Justice: Perspectives from the Field, 2002, Page 306). In regard to race, an article published by East Bay Times (Scott Johnson, May 2011) states that the Border Brothers tend to accept people of all races. An “OG” (original gangster) Border Brother was documented stating the following: “We don’t discriminate, if they’re down to die for us, they’re welcome. It doesn’t matter if he’s black or white, anything. But if you turn your back on us, that’s another story.” Pogrebin also quotes another testimony stating the following: “The Border Brothers don’t want to have anything to do with Sureños-Norteños. They keep out of that ‘cause it’s not our fighting and all of that is stupid... Either you are a Chicano or you’re not. There is no sense of being separated (Case 3).” (Qualitative Approaches to Criminal Justice: Perspectives from the Field, 2002, Page 306) P16 Prison Gang The paisas 16 are mostly composed of Mexican Nationals who were arrested while crossing the border into the United States illegally. The majority of them are not into criminal activity in the West Coast but they do operate as a gang in Texas under the "Tango Mexicles" banner. In the union, members refer to themselves as "paisano" or just "paisa". Their affiliation is considered "light" (strictly to prison) and their initiation requirements vary from each facility. The gang was mainly formed to seek independence from what they perceived as "negative" prison gangs that operated under the "blood in-blood out" vision which states that the only way to leave the gang is by death. Although their major strength resides within the federal prison system of the United States, it is also believed that members from the "Mexicles Union" have presence in many other states and that their membership could go from 20,000 to 23,000 validated individuals. In the state of Texas they formed their own "Tango" chapter known as "Tango Mexicles" and a lot of its members are Salvadoran, Colombian, Guatemalan and Honduran amongst other Latin-Americans. The number 16 represents the letter P of the alphabet and members of the gang might wear some Mexican culture tattoos such as the Mexican eagle, the Mexican coat of arms or the "Hecho en México" (Made in Mexico) official commercial logo eagle as well as the portraits of Mexico's Independence heroes with the likes of Emiliano Zapata and Francisco Villa. PRM (Partido Revolucionario Mexicano) The PRM was founded in 1987-1988 in TDCJ’s Coffield Unit by six inmates who wanted to protect themselves from other offenders and prison groups. Until 1994, the PRM was comprised of only Mexican nationals and individuals of Mexican descent. After 1994, recruitment was opened to individuals of Latin descent from Central and South America. In July 2005, TDCJ formally identified the PRM as an STG. Members of the PRM identify themselves as “Borrachos.” The PRM tattoo often incorporates the letters "PRM" and/or the emblem on the Mexican flag (i.e., eagle, snake, cactus, and half wreath). The words "Estados Unidos Mexicanos" may be added above the eagle. The number “6” is a code number used to identify membership (Note: There are six letters in the word “Mexico” and “Mezcal”) and the tattoo “P31” is also used (“R” is the 18th letter of the alphabet and “M” is the 13th letter; thus “P” + 18 + 13 = P31). In addition, since the group has used the word “borracho” (Spanish for “drunk”) to denote membership, some members may bear a tattoo of a Mexican male sitting on the ground, wearing a sombrero tilted forward, with a bottle of Mezcal or Tequila in his hand or beside him. Tangos The Tangos are one of the fastest growing groups in Texas, both within the prison system and on the streets, and are attaining near fad status. The term “Tango” is derived from Spanish slang and indicates a “town or hometown clique”. The term also refers to the letter T in the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, commonly known as the NATO phonetic alphabet or the ICAO phonetic alphabet to indicate that the group operates in the whole of Texas. Membership is usually voluntary and based on the geographic location where the offender resides. The rules governing Tango membership are less stringent than those required for STGs, which have historically adhered to a “blood in-blood out” philosophy. Tangos also abide by an existing set of basic written rules that specifically outline the expectations of their members. The Tangos and their behavior within the prison system are more consistent with other self-protection groups; however, the Tangos have also evolved into groups that, because of their large numbers, have successfully challenged the more established STGs. Presently, TDCJ’s Security Threat Group Management Office monitors the Tango groups, but does not recognize them as a validated STG. The four largest Tango groups, known collectively as the “Four Horsemen,” are “Houstone” from Houston; “D-Town” from Dallas; “Foritos” from Fort Worth; and “ATX” or “Capirucha” from Austin. Other Tango groups include the “Vallucos” from the Rio Grande Valley; the West Texas Tangos (WTX) from West Texas and the Texas Panhandle; “Corpitos” from Corpus Christi; “San Anto” or “Orejones” from San Antonio; and “EPT” from El Paso. Some Tangos may also identify themselves as being “Tango Blast” (TB), which is not so much a separate organization as it is an indication that the offender has participated in heightened criminal activity on behalf of the organization. The term “blasting” refers to involvement in violent or disruptive criminal behavior against other gang members or criminal justice personnel, particularly inside the Texas prison system. Most Tangos who claim TB membership come from the Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston areas. Tango structure and leadership vary in and out of prison. Within the prison system, Tangos elect a representative for each unit, known as a “Spokesman,” as well as a designated speaker for each pod, wing, or dorm who reports directly to the Spokesman. Outside of prison, the Tango groups appear to be more loosely organized. They operate in small groups and cells without a well-defined structure or identified leader. Tangos are involved in a variety of criminal activity, including auto theft, burglaries, narcotics trafficking, illegal alien smuggling, home invasions, robberies, kidnappings, and homicide—all offenses that have historically been committed by STGs. Furthermore, as a result of technological advancements and easier access to automated information, law enforcement can expect to see an increase in a wide variety of computer-related crimes by the newer and technologically-savvy gang members, including identity theft, fraud, and other financial crimes. The Internet has also provided gangs an avenue of communication and self-promotion that has not been available to them in the past. With the younger generation’s increasing attraction to living the “Thug Life” or becoming a “G,” these groups will continue to pose a legitimate threat to the public, law enforcement, and criminal justice personnel at all levels. Tango members can be identified by their tattoos, which usually depict a hometown sports team and/or the team logo, a city skyline, area code numbers representing their hometowns, or the slang term for their hometown. Tangos who claim to be TB members may also use the tattoo “16-20-2” to represent the 16th, 20th, and 2nd letters of the alphabet, or “PTB,” which stands for “Puro Tango Blast.” The Paisa Tango Mexicles was formed in the Texas prison system by a group of Mexican nationals and immigrants who banded together to protect themselves from being recruited or assaulted by other STGs. Although members of this gang may be tattooed with the word “Mexicle” or “Mexicles,” the term is not used exclusively by them. The word “Mexicle” is a term used to describe a Mexican citizen and thus is sometimes found in tattoos worn by members of other gangs, such as the Partido Revolucionario Mexicano (PRM). The next one is Paisa (Mexican National) Street Gangs in the United States of America. This is a very complex subject to touch on, mainly because gangs like Sureños, Norteños, Crips and Bloods all have Paisas as members internally, so what I’m going to do here is touch on overall Paisa Street Gangs like Varrio Paisa 5/Hill 22, Krazy Ass Paisas 16 and such. See alongside your standard Mexican-American street gangs, African-American street gangs and Asian-American street gangs, you also have Latin-American street gangs that exist in the United States of America, Mexican Nationals being the dominant membership most of the time inside of these street gangs. They’re normally used at street level for Paisa Prison Organizations and drug Cartels, to either distribute drugs at street level or handle USA based hits and such. There’s not many Paisa Street gangs that actually exist, at least to my knowledge, so it the concept in itself is quite rare and underrated as it’s often overlooked when Street Gang roleplay is considered. Paisa Street Gangs typical are a hybrid of organized crime and street crime mixed into one, sort of like Armenian Power 13 (Although using AP13 as an example can be taken the wrong way, as they’re more of a Mob) / Mara Salvatrucha 13 if you were to use it as a comparison, since they’re kind of deemed a street gang by the authorities, but their main drive is organized criminal activities in the end. But all in all, when they hit the yard, they claim Paisa and run Paisa. USA BASED PAISA PLENIPOTENTIARIES There are many different transnational criminal organizations operating with the cartels who constitute their own transnational criminal organizations. Some of these include Mexican street gangs who have migrated across the U.S. border to make their smuggling activities independant. These include the Paisas, Border Brothers and the Xalisco Boys. The latter are very well known for having revolutionized the drug retail business for such organizations, providing cheap prescription medication, heroin and other narcotics without the use of open air drug markets, instead delivering directly to the customer. This allowed the Xalisco Boys to spread across many states. Although the Xalisco Boys are somewhat more complicated, as not all of them are deemed to be Paisanos and operate under the Paisa banner, in fact it's quite the opposite where many of the USA based Xalisco Boys; especially in California, tend to fall in line with Californian chapter of the Mexican Mafia (EME). While some started as street or prison gangs under a cartel's control, most have evolved to enjoy a great level of autonomy and even independence. The native peoples of Nueva Leon have historically had no such ties, all street gangs and competition is dominated and absorbed first by the Zetas, then the Cartel de Noreste. Most cartels provide their own drug trafficking, loading vehicles in their home regions and ferrying them through U.S points of entry along the border, or have it shipped out of Mexican ports. They also employ the street/prison gangs to facilitate this, the dual-citizenship of many newer members from the United States serving them well in crossing border checkpoints. For example, while the prison gang Border Brothers (22) operate a huge network of smugglers, distributors and retailers across the entirety of California working as a pipeline for the Arellano-Félix Organization, they also provide the same to the Sinaloa factions while retaining their own independence. The past decade has shown how important border towns such as El Paso, Nogales and Tijuana are for the larger Mexican cartels such as the Jalisco Cartel, Noreste cartel and the Sinaloa cartel. From these places they flood the local markets of BB, BA and Sureno street gangs among many more with high quality heroin, cocaine, fentanyl and methamphetamines. Although outdated, this map is a perfect representation of how drug routes are intended to work And how cartels have areas of influence. Direct cartel operations and business in the United States is run according to hub-and-spoke principles, where all product comes across the border to a centralized warehouse or network, this is the hub. From there it is distributed out towards individual actors or satellite organizations within the U.S. operation like the Border Brothers gang. This is known as a spoke, where it is further distributed to customers. Proceeds travel back through the same channels, arriving at the hub. These hubs are frequently located on the U.S. side of the border, in places like Los Angeles, Chicago and El Paso. Other important hubs for the largest players are Phoenix, Houston, Miami, and Atlanta. The key to their success and longevity has been to follow the same sophisticated routines for a long time. All major places of import relies on these cartel controlled cities, ideally situated on a hub of intersecting interstates like the I-10 or the I-65. This combined with their extreme levels of discretion while operating in the U.S. has allowed them to continue using the same hubs for decades. While there are instances Mexican groups take their extreme violence to the public eye like the kidnappings in San Diego by Los Palillos, who started their life under the Tijuana cartel but split after the murder of their leader El Palillo, this remains extremely rare. In most, if not all cases this type of behavior leads to the downfall of all involved. The threat all cartels come under by being labeled narco-terrorists is something resting heavily on the minds of every individual involved. The few who get away with this behavior are exclusively part of low level street gang activity, who partake in this seemingly ever increasing phenomenon of gun violence. Likewise, it is extremely rare for an organized, involved individual to engage police in gun battle. This will generally only ever happen in moments of severe desperation, as a last ditch effort for their leaders to escape apprehension. Lower profile members might sporadically have confrontations with law enforcement but this usually results in that person's death or large scale manhunts that make it impossible to operate within any semblance of society. When it comes to the United States of America and groups operating under Cartel banners to actively distribute narcotics, launder money, transport money, smuggle people in and smuggle weapons back to Mexico, there’s a huge list of subsidiary plenipotentiaries inside of the United States of America. The biggest thing to remember when it comes to USA based plenipotentiaries though is, most of the operatives inside of that USA based group aren’t official members of the Cartel itself that’s located in Mexico but instead use their name to advertise and market as a strategy for Narconomic Development. Los Tigres (AFO/CAF) Los Chapitos (CDS) La Linea (NCDJ) Border Brothers 22 (AFO/CDS) Barrio Azteca Vieja Escuela (CDS) Barrio Azteca Nuevo Escuela (NCDJ) Grupo Ensenada (AFO/CAF) Tango (CDN/NCDJ/CDG) PRM (CDS/CDN) WHAT IS A PLENIPOTENTIARY? Plenipotentiaries are basically sub-factors of Cartels from Mexico, that mainly operate in foreign land such as the European and American continent. In the late 2010's they became really popular factors for Cartels to distribute narcotics across the foreign nations, and in the U.S.A especially. Normally plenipotentiaries are made up of countless different crews under one major dominant cell inside of a state. The dominant cell's leader acts as a representative and spokesperson between the plenipotentiary and the Cartel in Mexico itself, and may not always hold direct membership to the Cartel they're distributing for. That's a common misunderstanding, that you get "made" into a Cartel in Mexico and distribute for them. This isn't true, the plenipotentiaries in the U.S.A might use the Cartel's banner name as a way to conduct business since it may hold weight, but 95% of the time the operatives in that plenipotentiary aren't members at all. PLENIPOTENTIARIES ONLY RECRUIT MEXICANS: There's a common misunderstanding that you must roleplay Mexican inside of a Narco cell that's U.S.A based. This couldn't be further from the truth, in fact quite the opposite... a lot of lower ranking operatives in the U.S.A may be of white, black, Asian, and Middle-eastern descent. Now of course the main core of the membership will consist of Mexicans, but roleplaying non-Mexican isn't far fetched aslong as your character doesn't want to rise above middle-management as that's probably the highest they'd ever achieve. AMERICA IS AMERICA, NOT MEXICO! What I mean by this is that people need to stop acting like it's Mexico. Narco operatives who operate in the U.S.A fear one thing more than getting punished by Mexican Cartels themselves, and that fear? Going to prison in the U.S.A. On LSRP's SAMP server I constantly seen people carrying guns like a gang-banger, acting reckless etc. Look, I'ma be real... traffickers rarely carry firearms. They might have something in their house, or car, or may carry when there's high tension with another group but definitely won't carry just to carry as it's too risky if they're pulled over n stop searched for no reason. Normally there's a dedicated security crew internally in plenipotentiaries that handle all of that. Another thing is openly fighting on the streets, this is a no go. You might have rival cells go head-to-head once in a blue moon in the U.S.A, but they won't be shooting down the street with M4A1s and wasting 5 magazines, dumping them into bodies. If and when rival narco groups go to war in the U.S.A (which bare in mind is very rare), they'll treat it like any Mob hit and do it clean and fast and out of sight. But wars shouldn't happen like that anyways, because the whole point of U.S.A plenipotentiary roleplay is operating as shadow operatives under the radar. Another thing that should be understood is Cartel Cells/Plenipotentiaries in the U.S.A might be distributing on behalf of a Mexican Cartel, but in the end they're in foreign land and aren't the final say there. If a Cartel Cell is operating in California for example, chances are their people are going to serve time with the Southerner Car (Mexican Mafia) essentially. Border Brothers 22 prison gang run in chapters by state, but in California all BBs serve with the Sur Car (Not to be mistaken with Oakland BBs as they're two different things). What I'm saying is, don't big dick a Security Threat Group (STG) that by right has claim to that area of influence. FEMALES IN THE NARCO UNDERWORLD Being a female in a male dominated environment can often be challenging, and sometimes almost impossible depending on the environment at hand. The topic for this part, as you can see, is females in the narco underworld, and hopefully after reading this thoroughly you’ll understand a lot more about the complexity of the topic. To start off? We’ll start talking about mannerisms and attitude and how they affect the outcome of situations, meaning we’ll talk about the way females must act. See the thing is there has been females to reach a Narco queenpin status, but it’s very rare and you know why? Because the mannerisms greatly affect the way people see you, judge you and react to you. Not to generalize a gender, but most females don’t make it to that status because they can’t get past the first step of what I’m going to mention here. When you’re a female in the Narco underworld, you must carry yourself a certain way so as to get looks from people but also not too much looks. You need to be seen as serious, fierceless and business oriented. The issue is, not many females end up meeting this requirement and most end up being messengers or sicarias (hitwomen) as they don’t have a business oriented mindset with serious driven fierceless mindsets jammed into one big comprehension. You need to be able to sit down at a negotiation and get a perfect first impression off someone, put them into a mindset of aw-ness, if you can’t do that then you’ve already failed. Another thing I've seen with female characters in Narco concepts is, a lot of them seem to be very sexual and overly feminine. This is a very controversial topic as some might take it the wrong way, but I hate to break it to you it’s the only way to say it; roleplaying your character being overly sexual and feminine is horrendous and abysmal portrayal for someone chasing a queenpin like outcome on their character. You need to remember the Narco underworld is a male dominated environment, if there’s any hint of sluttery or whoreness from your character? You risk being seen as a plaything and not taken seriously. But being too manly can also fuck it up, as you need to meet a perfect middle ground to perfectly fit that title. Most females who’ve risen to positions of power and influence in the Narco underworld, typically end up being some of the cold hearted women you’ll ever come across as they must be twice as ruthless as the men to gain respect, but also must be business oriented to keep that respect as you can’t be seen as a violent female purely, otherwise you’re no different than a hitwoman. Next we’ll talk about fashion/dress-code, looks and emotions. This is by far something I see people always messing up with, you’d think it’d be pretty obvious but to some people it isn’t. Dressing too hoodrattish and slutty can both fuck up your chances of being taken seriously, so you must find a middle ground. It means don’t wear shit like you’re gangbanging, but don’t expose too much skin and wear stripper heels because then you’re seen as a hoe. You must dress to impress, but must also keep it toned down and stuff, best way to describe it is contemporary Western attire, business casual attire or business attire fully. You could also dress in a Buchóna fashion, which is contemporary Western attire mixed with business attire and sometimes dark vibrance attire. I’m sure you’ll find the fashion style if you research it on the internet for long enough. As for looks and emotions, I don’t like restricting character development and roleplay but honestly? Don’t overdo it with tattoos either, normally people of influence in the Narco underworld don’t even have tattoos that are exposed like that. As for emotions, I get females can get very emotional at times, but you shouldn’t… under any circumstance, show dramatic emotions publicly, it can completely ruin your reputation. You need to be levelheaded, clear minded and relaxed at almost all times. SUMMARY The summary for the guide is essentially that everything basic has been run through rather in-depth but short and straight to the point. If you knew some things said on this guide, then it shows you did your research, but we’re most definitely positive that you’ve read this and came away with learning something new that you didn’t know before. The guide was a joint-op written by @Freedom Fighter, @Nuke and @EGN. Considering not many guides on Paisa roleplay have been made, it’s understandable in the end as not many people have a lot of in-depth modernized information on the topic. We figured we should share our information and knowledge with the community to help better people who’re interested in learning about the concept! https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zhQA8v-FFk-6SsChn498gC3fAcPGaRu5R1-W69UX2jQ/edit?usp=sharing
SOS W/S Sons of Samoa Gangster Crip is a predominantly Samoan and Polynesian street gang, located in Vespucci. With the influx of Samoan American immigrants during 1962, Polynesian youth gangs and cliques did not take long to form, however Sons of Samoa was established in the early 1980's. These youth gangs made up of local Polynesian Americans and other community members occurred as a result of the racial division and targeting from rival gangs such as the infamous E/S Longos 13 that was all so common for the poverty stricken neighbourhoods at the time. With the W/S Sons of Samoa Gangster Crips being primarily of Samoan or Polynesian descent, it is not uncommon to see affiliates of Asian or African-American descent. Due to Polynesian's overwhelming sense of unity and familial connections, it is common to mistake a W/S Sons of Samoa Crip member for a civilian, on account of their typically friendly nature, only changing upon provocation or intoxication. The W/S Sons of Samoa Crips, despite being extremely Americanized are still in-touch with their Polynesian heritage and underlying culture, they are Christian and often deeply religious and it is not uncommon for some members to speak Samoan, being taught by their parents and various community members. W/S Sons of Samoa Gangster Crips can be commonly seen sporting the Seattle Mariners logo, representing their gang with baseball caps, shirts and accessories labelled with the blue 'S'. Dark blue rags are also used to represent their Crip affiliation. The W/S Sons of Samoa Gangster Crip's are heavily involved and hold an alliance with the Asian Boyz, due to their location and similar sense of community and unification. Sons of Samoa are also involved with the SEA alliance, consisting of the Suicidal Town Crips, Exotic Family Crips and Asian Boyz. Sons of Samoa have a rather long list of rivalries, including all Samoan Piru gangs such as W/S Carson Piru and Scottsdale Piru. Other rivals consist of the E/S Longos 13, Rollin 20's Crips, Rollin 80's Crips and the W/S Rollin 60's Crips. OOC INFORMATION W/S Sons Of Samoa Gangster Crip is a faction based on the the real life Sons of Samoa gang based in Long Beach, a Polynesian street gang. We are aiming to portray realistic Polynesian-American gang-bangers and an accurate portrayal of a Los Angeles street gang. Upon joining, it is expected members to be well informed of LA gang politics, as well as a good understanding of the Sons of Samoa street gang and Polynesian culture. Reach out to @SupremeUso with any questions or an invite to the discord.