The O.G.’s Are Falling – Part 2
(This is the Second Segment of a multiple-part series focusing on significant Mexican Mafia members who have died)
COMING NEXT in PART 3 : “Acha,” “Topo” Peters and “Robot” Salas).
The two primary causes of Mexican Mafia deaths are, without a question, 1) Internal execution or 2) Drug Related. To many, doing prison time might be considered a traumatic experience. To hard core institutionalized convicts, penal confinement becomes a very comfortable and familiar setting – their “home.” The threat of long term imprisonment or the ultimate penalty of death does not serve as an effective deterrent to these men. In the end, when one signs up for EME duty, or chooses to pursue “the life” – a criminal career – you have in effect purchased a one-way ticket to hell. When you walk that walk, you are perpetually under the scrutiny of your fellow Carnales for telltale signs of weakness or other violations of EME rules. Any misstep can be your last. The three Mexican Mafia figures profiled next are classic examples of the old and familiar axiom, “If you live by the sword, you die by the sword.”
Victor “Victorio” Murrillo, 52, was shot to death on April 4, 1998 at a parking lot near Visalia, California, a direct victim of internal EME politicking and dissension. A member of La Rana street gang, located in the L.A. South Bay city of Torrance, Victorio was made in the late 1960’s at Soledad State Prison and paroled to Visalia, California, in the early 1970’s. He and fellow La Rana and Mexican Mafia member Manuel “Tati” Torrez made collective decisions to relocate from Los Angeles to Northern California where they conducted criminal business in an area where they were not known by the law enforcement community, especially by the local gang cops.
On May 31, 1997, “Victorio” stood in a Los Angeles federal courtroom along with twelve EME co-defendants. Stoic, seemingly uninterested, bored, uncaring, some with scowls on their hardened faces, each received the jury verdicts: “Victorio,” silver-haired and distinguished in appearance, was the only one acquitted, the other twelve were found guilty of racketeering and conspiracy charges ranging from drug distribution to multiple counts of murder. When his not guilty verdict was delivered, “Victorio’s” fellow co-defendants cheered in the courtroom. Almost a year later, the game of mob politics reared its ugly head and some in the Mexican Mob cheered his assassination.
On November 13, 2007, Frank “Chivo” Buelna, 61, also known as “Frankie B,” was shot to death inside Characters Sports Bar in Pomona, California, a Los Angeles suburb. Repeated violations of EME rules that strictly prohibited the criminal encroachment into a fellow member’s designated turf resulted in a “green light” being placed on him.
Originally from the Northern California city of Merced, he was known as “Chivo from Merced” during his early years doing time in the California Youth Authority in the 1960’s. After graduating to state prison, he joined the East Los Angeles Primera Flats street gang. Many of the Primera Flats gang members would soon join the Mexican Mafia and soon “Chivo” was invited into this exclusive fraternity. In 1968, he became a made EME member at San Quentin. Later in life, he adopted the nickname of “Frankie B” and would from that time forward become known by this handle until his death. Like many in our society, he was a family man who doted on his infant daughter (See the below link) but in the end, “Frankie B” surrendered his heart, and his life, to the seductive streets.
In a 1994 court case, court transcripts revealed “Frankie B” had arrogantly admitted to being a Mexican Mafia member, a direct violation of EME’s Oath of Silence, punishable by death. In 2005, wiretaps revealed a plot to kill “Frankie B” with the aid of his girlfriend, who had agreed to set him up. Police investigators visited his home, warned him of the murder contract on his head and asked if he desired protection. He declined their offer. He became the primary suspect in the murder of his girlfriend’s lover, Hector Muñoz, who was shot 13 times at a red light. Crossing the EME meant certain death and the end came in the same violent fashion “Frankie B” lived his life. “If you live by the sword, you will die by the sword.”
On April 22, 2005, Manuel “Tati” Torrez, 64, was stomped to death by two federal prison inmates at the ADX Supermax Prison in Florence, Colorado. Shown above in a 1960’s prison photo, he was a fellow street gang and close EME associate of “Victorio” Murillo. “Tati” paroled in the early 1970’s to Visalia, California, where he and “Victorio” became the Mexican Mafia’s representatives in the Central Valley, controlling drug activity in Visalia, Hanford, and the surrounding areas. The beginning of the end began during his court sentencing when “Tati” pleaded guilty to criminal charges netting him over 160 months in federal prison. Like “Frankie B,” he admitted to being a member of La EME which until recently was considered a violation of the Oath of Silence. In a conspiracy proceeding, pleading guilty to a criminal offense included admitting to being part of an enterprise, to wit: a member of the Organization he was accused of belonging to. In later years, the EME loosened their rules to allow a member to enter into a plea bargain which entailed admitting to membership in the organization, an exception to the Oath of Silence. Too little, too late for “Tati” who became the first inmate to be murdered in the ADX Supermax facility, also known as the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.” He was killed on direct orders from the Mexican Mafia’s Federal Commission. In the first-ever murder trial to come out of the nation’s highest-security prison, the judge in the case assigned jurors special anonymous identifiers as a security precaution. Members of the Denver, Colorado, jury who decided the fates of “Tati’s” executioners were only identified by their initials and four-digit numbers. His execution was videotaped by prison security cameras and viewed by the jury.
“There is a way that seems right unto a man but in the end that path leads to destruction.”