Thank you for joining us at Perplex News. This episode is Part 2 of the Mexican Mafia & Aryan Brotherhood Connection and once again, Josh Buehler introduces his guest, Ramon “Mundo” Mendoza, a former member of the Mexican Mafia, who was there with the older generation of EME Carnales and AB members.
(NOTE: For an AUDIO VERSION of this story, Click onto the following link …. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1zAh2qrIqfgbXcypM-Pc9A)
The criminal resume of hardcore prison gangs like the Mexican Mafia, Aryan Brotherhood, Nuestra Familia, and Black Guerrilla Family was established inside the U.S. correctional system. From youth incarcerations to state and federal prisons, these individuals were literally “raised” behind bars. For just over half a century, it’s never been a big secret the Mexican Mafia and Aryan Brotherhood have worked together in the furtherance of mutual business.
Status, fear, and money are three motivating factors that drive these groups. Unlike the outside dynamics in some areas, prison life is a completely different animal. I would like to profile some of the EME and AB individuals who worked together in the furtherance of their criminal enterprises.
Controlling black market prison activities has always been an overriding desire and motivation of these groups. Once it became common knowledge the EME and AB were partners in crime and the NF and BGF enjoyed a similar relationship, it became apparent to the inmate population and prison staff they were witnessing the early stages of long lasting organized criminal relationships. The EME and NF utilized La Raza and ethnic pride as a ploy to unify their regional Hispanic gang constituents from Southern and Northern California under what each group loves to refer to as La Causa, “the cause.” The AB embraced the white racist ideology and labeled it White Pride, and the BGF was all about “power to the People” and hating on Whitey. In the end, it was all about organized crime as we were chasing the same thing – power, control, status and the Almighty Dollar.
Martin “Kato” Vargas and Barry “The Red Baron” Mills both lived in Fresno at one time and considered themselves to be homeboys. At six-two and two hundred sixty pounds, Kato was a “corn fed dude” and was always an ominous presence. Like many prison gang members who were confident and comfortable in their skin, he carried himself with a supreme arrogance and contempt of many, especially his enemies. One day at San Quentin as the afternoon lockup was underway Kato ascended the stairwell heading to the 5th tier where he met a Black inmate, snatched him from the front collar with one hand, spun him around and tossed him over the railing. Somehow Wayne Early, the name of his victim, survived despite two broken legs and other physical issues. Kato and Barry Mills shared an intense racial hatred for Blacks. Besides being homeboys and partners in crime against the NF, maybe hating on Blacks was just another hobby he and Barry had in common. After hooking up on the streets and robbing banks, Kato and Barry were again reunited inside prison walls, this time in the Federal Bureau of Prisons system. Barry Mills went on to become a high ranking member of the AB’s federal commission and recently passed away on July 8, 2016, one day after his 70th birthday, at the ADX Super Max prison in Florence, Colorado. Serving a life sentence, Barry was the perpetrator of several murders in federal prison and responsible for sanctioning dozens of other hits during his tenure. Kato eventually escaped from an Arizona federal facility in 2016 and remains free.
It was December 19, 1974, when Martin “Crazy” Horse Lewis, the former AB, in his first act as a Mexican Mafia member, gave the green light signal inside the South Dining Hall that ignited EME attacks on three BGF members. When the dust settled, Mexican Mafia member David “O.C.” Aguirre had been shot and seriously wounded by a gun rail officer who fired several warning shots before shooting him with his 30-30 Winchester to prevent Aguirre from completing his attack on a BGF member who was running backwards toward the gunner’s position. I was taken into custody as a murder and attempted murder suspect against two BGF victims. In the frenzy of activity, Gary “Zaribu” Davis survived two stab wounds to the chest and watched as Arthur Harris, his fellow comrade and cell partner, died in his presence. From my vantage point, Zaribu was either slow to the draw or he suffered a sudden case of cold feet. As he was being transported on the emergency gurney to the prison hospital, Zaribu still had his prison-made shank under his belt. Make no mistake about it; Zaribu was a warrior so I’m guessing he simply had a bad day. Later, celled next to each other in the Adjustment Center, I teased him about his performance. It was the type of conversation two mortal rivals could engage in when they weren’t at each other’s throats. If and when we ever hit the yard together, we both knew the respect was placed on hold while we tried to kill each other. In an upcoming segment, I will share with you some better BGF moments.
In another part of the prison, EME and AB members launched a premeditated attack on the BGF on the prison’s lower yard. It was supposed to coincide with the dining room attack. In one skirmish, AB Eddie Horton used a smuggled hatchet to slice one of his victims and other EME and AB members battled with the BGF on the lower yard as bullets rained from the gun towers overhead. But it was Mexican Mafia member Black Dan Barela who punctuated the day with his brutal attack upon BGF member Truman Nichols. Two CDC guards, Santos and an unidentified officer, observed Black Dan sitting atop his fallen victim, stabbing him repeatedly with a“bone crusher” – a custom made double-edged knife built for destruction. In his first report, Officer Santos stated he heard the knife hitting the asphalt each time it plunged through Nichols’ body. When Black Dan realized there were two officers directly next to him, he swung the knife, they backed off, he then threw it several feet and ran into a crowd of inmates discarding his jacket into the mob in an attempt to change his clothing identity. Truman Nichols dragged himself up the cement stairs that led from the lower yard to the San Quentin upper yard. When this article is posted on the Perplex News YouTube channel, they will play a two-minute clip showing Mr. Nichols’ final steps in life before passing away at the prison hospital on that fateful day.
Another example of Mexican Mafia and AB joint ventures occurred in a $39,000 Thousand Oaks Bank of America heist undertaken by EME’s Adolph “Champ” Reynoso and AB member William “Puppet” McKinney. Both men were eventually apprehended, tried, convicted and sent to federal prison. Champ went on to become the EME’s number one man – the head of their federal commission, and passed away on November 18, 2018, at the ADX Super Max prison in Florence, Colorado. Puppet’s journey in life also concluded in a United States prison after his former brothers voted to terminate his membership. He was stabbed to death by his AB associates.
The common denominator for over 90% of Mexican Mafia and Aryan Brotherhood made members who are in the prison system today is that most of them are doing “all day,” a convict term which amounts to life in prison. Each controls a sizable segment of inmates behind bars; each conducts very lucrative business inside and from their confinements they oversee gang facilitators on the outside for the sale and distribution of illegal drugs.
What their mortal rivals have been unable to successfully accomplish, or the states that seek to execute them through the use of capital punishment, there is a much more brutal nemesis of theirs who can boast wholesale deaths of dozens of Mexican Mafia and Aryan Brotherhood members. With no exception, the overwhelming vast majority of these guys are long time substance abusers with heroin and meth their predominate drugs of choice. As a result, it stands to reason that cancer, Hepatitis C, liver diseases, heroin overdoses, and other drug-related issues are by far the number one cause of death for these men.
Because my familiarization with the prison gang world is predominately centered on my life as a Mexican Mafia member, the accounts I have shared do tend to highlight my former associates-in-crime. In future Perplex News accounts I cover the Black Guerrilla Family’s prison journey, without bias. I have also invited a former highly placed Nuestra Familia member to contribute his accounts to Perplex News. His name and story will be published if and when he agrees to come on board. Stay tuned. Thank you for tuning in and my thanks to the team of Perplex News investigators for inviting me. God bless you all.