If any of you happened to see CTV News on July 16, 2015, it detailed a police undercover operation. That operation resulted in sixteen drug related arrest warrants and mentioned a gang by the name of “Norteños”. Who is Norteños? It is a dangerous U.S. prison gang and you should be alarmed that Norteños is now in Victoria.
I spent some twenty years living in both Northern and Southern California. Additionally, I spent many of the last fifteen years living in the centre of the drug culture here on southern Vancouver Island.
Therefore, I am well qualified to help you understand the “whys and wherefores”. Accordingly, please allow me to give you a quick history lesson on Norteños. As well, I will explain why it is here and what must be done to protect the south island from it.
Who is Norteños? A prison gang from California.
When in prison in the USA inmates are virtually forced to belong to a prison gang for self protection. They do so in order to distinguish who might be an enemy and who might be a friend. Because of the various Hispanic inmates’ affiliations outside of prison, it became necessary for the Hispanic inmates to form a gang in order to clearly draw that distinction.
North versus South
The Norteños (Northeners) is a Hispanic gang that started in the prison system in California sometime in the late sixties. At that same time, another gang was also formed, the Sureños (Southerners). These gangs arose out of an affiliation of certain Hispanic inmates.
Some of those inmates formed Norteños. It is affiliated with Nuestra Familia (Our Family) which was/is the dominate gang in Northern California. Other inmates formed Sureños. That gang is affiliated with the Mexican Mafia (La Eme) which was/is the dominant Hispanic gang in Southern California.
Norteños or Sureños – Farmland or Urban
Bakersfield is considered the dividing line between Northern and Southern California. This is because Bakersfield and north thereof are principally farmlands, while south thereof are principally urban areas.
That dividing line determined whether you joined Norteños or Sureños. Thus, in prison, those inmates who came from Bakersfield or north joined Norteños and those who came from south of Bakersfield joined Sureños.
The Gangs Grew and Prospered Outside of Prison.
Over the forty plus years since those prison gangs were formed, many of those inmates were released from prison. Upon release, they maintained their gang affiliations from inside prison and formed the Norteños and the Sureños outside of prison. At this time, each gang has a large number of members and each gang has a reputation for ruthlessness and violence.
Differing Environments Led to Differing Expansion Plans.
The Sureños, being in the urban areas of California, has easy access to dope flowing out of Mexico. This is because of the considerably larger population and sprawling metropolises in the south of the state. Therefore, it had/has an ample supply of dope, customers and new recruits. On the other hand, Norteños was in a more rural territory. Thus it had to expand to its north, even across the border, in order to sustain itself and to grow.
Thus, we find ourselves reading this article from the July 16, 2015 edition of the Times Colonist, excerpted below.
The six-week operation wrapped up on Wednesday. It was in response to a dramatic increase in aggressive drug dealing in front of the Rock Bay Landing shelter on Ellice Street and Our Place drop-in centre on Pandora Avenue.
Police found the bulk of the drug dealers were linked to a street-level gang that uses violence and intimidation.
“The level of violence had increased to such a degree that we weren’t just hearing from the service providers. We were hearing from the clientele. They said: ‘I’m not going by the shelter anymore — it’s too dangerous,’ said Insp. Scott McGregor. McGregor heads the department’s downtown beat and bikes unit, which carried out the operation.
McGregor said it’s “intolerable” to see “opportunists profiting off of the illness and sickness of some of the people who have to access these facilities.” Most of those charged are members of a street gang called the Norteños, which has been growing in Victoria, McGregor said.
“It’s something we want to disrupt immediately and not let them gain a foothold.”
The six-week operation, which wrapped up on Wednesday, was in response to a dramatic increase in aggressive drug dealing in front of the Rock Bay Landing shelter on Ellice Street and Our Place drop-in centre on Pandora Avenue. Police found the bulk of the drug dealers were linked to a street-level gang that uses violence and intimidation.
Now let us pray that some bleeding heart, liberal judge doesn’t just turn these gang bangers loose on society again to sling their poison as they forestall a trial for the next two years.
No matter what the courts decide though, the police did what they could do. So, the next time you see a Victoria Police Department member, thank him or her for their great work on this pending disaster.
And the next time you feel like looking down your nose at a disenfranchised individual, realize that it may have been him or her who gave the police information with which to help root out Norteños and protect you.
American gangs are the last people in the world you want running around our communities. Gangs of the ilk of Norteños are responsible for much of what is happening in Surrey these days.
The Gang Code
Although the code pictured is for the Mexican Mafia (La Eme), all of the gangs from the USA have a very similar code. It is a brutal code and one that guarantees violence. This is what makes the incursion of Americans gangs into our communities so dangerous.
Getting “Jumped In” or Joining a Gang
You don’t just buy a motorcycle and sew a patch to a jacket and call yourself a member of a motorcycle club here in Canada. Similarly, in the USA you don’t just slap on a tattoo and declare yourself a member of one of these American gangs.
In the case of the motorcycle clubs here, you will get a severe beating. In the case of the American gangs, you will get dead. There is a procedure for joining motorcycle clubs here or street gangs south of the border.
In Canada, that procedure requires that you serve an indeterminate number of years as a “Prospect”. As a prospect you will be required to do the biddings of “Full Patch” members of the club. After a few years, a member might nominate you to receive a patch for your jacket.
With the American gangs, in order to show your toughness and your loyalty to the gang, you must run a gauntlet during which forty or more members severely beat you. [That’s why they call it getting “jumped in”.] Additionally, you will be required to commit at least one murder. However, the initiation into a Canadian branch of any such American gang probably comes with less severe prerequisites.
Just as the Devils Army in Langford and throughout BC uses the number “41” to identify itself, with the number “4” representing the fourth letter of the alphabet, “D”, and the number “1” representing the first letter of the alphabet, “A”, [“DA”, Devils Army], Sureños uses the number “13” to distinguish itself. The number “13” is used because the 13th letter of the alphabet is “M”. This letter stands for the Mexican Mafia (La Eme) which is the mother gang to which Sureños has sworn allegiance. Thus you will find many Sureños members inked with tattoos with “X3”, “13” and/or “M” as part of their identifying body art.
On the other hand, Norteños uses the number “14”. The number “14” is used because the 14th letter of the alphabet is “N”. This symbol serves a double purpose as “N” stands for Norteños, as well as for Nuestra Familia. That is the mother gang with whom Norteños affiliates. Accordingly, you will find Norteños members with tattoos with “X4”, “14” and/or “N” or even with four dots surrounding a single dot [1 and 4].
Norteños also favors the color red. You might find it from their bandanas, to their jackets, to their shirts, and sometimes even to their shoe laces. Gang colors are often considered sacrosanct by members of a gang. It is not uncommon for an absolutely innocent individual to be beaten by Norteños because he or she might be wearing red. This is especially true if that individual is Hispanic or is in an area which Norteños considers its own.
How many warrants were for Norteños and how many for local dealers?
It is difficult to glean from the Times Colonist article exactly how many of the sixteen warrants issued were for Norteños members. But the wording of the police spokesperson being interviewed would lead one to believe that at least 25% were for local dealers. Remember, Norteños, as with any gang, attempts to grow its numbers by recruiting. One step in that recruitment process is to avail itself of local talent.
The Langford Connection
When dealing in the USA Norteños gets its dope from Mexico through the Sinaloa Cartel. However, one must opine, given the small numbers of the gang trying to infiltrate lower Vancouver Island that they have a different source here.
With a small gang there is a correspondingly small amount of dope required when compared to what one might normally attempt to smuggle across an international border. Thus it is extremely likely, although by no means a guarantee that Norteños is sourcing its dope locally. It might even be coming from one of the many gangs Stew Young has allowed to gain a foothold in Langford.
Evidencing this viewpoint, I know of one longtime Langford resident who was arrested with Norteños members in the recent past. Also, please remember that a gang, as is true with an army, cannot extend past its supply line. Accordingly, Norteños must have a local supply of dope available to it from somewhere.
As I described in my posting about the Vancouver Island drug chain, Langford is becoming a distribution point for drugs. Accordingly, it is a hotbed for gangs because its focus on development has left it severely short on police. For instance, the undercover operation conducted against Norteños would not have been possible in Langford, or for that matter in the West Shore. This is because there just does not exist enough police personnel to have carried it out.
The Entire Southern Island is Paying the Price for Inept Planning in Langford.
Sadly, unless and until Stew Young and company care enough about protecting the public this situation will never be cured. A new policing model is required in Langford. Until that happens, Langford’s problems will continue to be exported to the neighboring communities. This forces the citizens in those neighboring communities to pay for Stew Young’s politics of putting development ahead of all else.
Recruiting Gang Members
The Norteños gang is relatively new to the South Island, having first appeared about two years ago. Because of that fact Norteños will be actively recruiting for new members. It will do so principally by seeking out younger and more naive individuals. These types can more easily be indoctrinated into the gang way of life.
Additionally, until it grows its numbers and accompanying dope sales, break and enters and robberies to a point that it is guaranteed self sufficiency, Norteños will hire out its services to more established gangs in Langford, gangs such as the Devils Army and other ethnicity based gangs, doing collections and drug rip offs for those gangs.
As I have told you in the past, there is no significant gang activity in Victoria. With Norteños is now in Victoria, that can change. In Victoria and Saanich, unlike with Stew Young’s regime in Langford, instead of misleading you about the number of police being hired, city governments have maintained policing levels. This allows them to mount and carry out extensive undercover operations to mitigate the gang threat. The operation referred to above involving Rock Bay Landing is a prime example
To Beat the Gangs the “Street” Must Be the Eyes and Ears of the Cops
Additionally, as is evident from reading that Times Colonist article, it falls on the police and on you people on the street to maintain it that way. The police cannot do it alone and the street cannot do it alone. In fact, if the street goes about protecting itself from gangs with the same cunning with which it goes about peddling its drugs, we are all doomed.
Here is a quick primer on how to recognize gang activity, partially excerpted from my book
In addition to gang graffiti, of which you should immediately report any you might see to the police, you will recognize any potential gang incursion(s) when somebody threatens you that you must buy from this person or that person, or when somebody tells you that you are not allowed to sell here or sell there, or when somebody tells you to whom you may sell or from whom you may buy.
Gangs need this type of control to take over a town, territory, or even a street corner. Without that control, you are in control of what you do, instead of them, and they will not make enough money to maintain their large inventories of dope or support their lavish lifestyles.
This is NOT the Mafia.
Please understand that I am not talking about the mafia type of organized crime here. I’m talking about dope slinging gangs with loose organization. Their members do drive by shootings and murder innocents who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Deny Gangs a Foothold.
Gangs are like cock roaches; once they get any kind of a foothold they will multiply. Then before you know it, your town/city will be infested.
If you want to keep your town/city gang free and maintain any control, you need to alert the police if you see anything that you believe resembles gang activity in town. I can guarantee you that if any gangs get a foothold your way of life will change for the worse.
I am not suggesting that you sell or use dope; but if you do, whether you are a user-dealer or just a user, there are other things you can do. Chief among them, do not buy your dope from anybody who is not an addict. Do not buy from people whom you do not know. And if possible, do not buy from any dealers unless you know from whom they buy.
Also, be wary of
- anybody who wants to front you a lot of dope.
- somebody who offers you prices below the market.
- anybody who seems to have kilos.
- somebody who tells you they can protect your territory.
- anybody who just seems powerful.
These are all warning signs of gang connections, and even if not connected today, you need to avoid knowingly enriching the pockets of major players because they will be the primary, initial, takeover targets when the gangs do attempt to control a territory. [A passage and prediction written almost two years ago that has proven correct in Langford and with the arrival of Norteños ]. Thus, those big players of today will be connected in the near future, or they will be dead.
Gangs Love to Suck You in
Gangs love to suck you in employing a variety of tactics. Sometimes they get control of you by fronting you. Other times they offer you great prices. Or they might provide you with really pure dope. They might even offer you protected territories.
After a short time, the fronting stops, the great prices go up considerably, the pure dope is adulterated with chemicals that can instantly kill you or is cut so deep that you can’t really get high off of it, and the protected territories come with demands that you sell a certain amount, or else. If you have already been sucked in, or do get sucked in, call the cops when you figure it out or after the cheap dope ends.
I realize that giving you what they promise you early on is very appealing if you are slinging. Again, it’s a trap. Don’t take the bait because I guarantee you that when things go bad, and they will go bad at some point, you will be one thrown under the bus. Throwing you under the bus could mean you taking the fall for whatever crime they need you to cop to. It could even mean you ending up dead because you know too much about their operation, or if you are lucky, just taking a severe beating.
I have a friend in an extremely well known and prolific gang who calls me from prison. He calls me because his fellow gang buddies won’t take his calls anymore.
They never visited him and only sent him a few dollars exactly twice and then abandoned him. You are replaceable, and therefore, expendable just as he was.
There is always another lonely or greedy, shortsighted, young wannabe who sees only the riches or street respect (fear) and is willing to buy into the lies about the gang lifestyle.
That is the family he adopted looking for acceptance, looking for love, and looking for security. Cold-hearted, greedy bast*rds don’t have any of the above to give.
To make matters worse, when you do get busted, which you will, you will owe the gang for all the dope that was taken during the bust. Your debt will include a possible “street tax” or “stupid tax”. [This a penalty imposed on you by the gang because they can get away with it due to intimidation.]
You’ll be screwed and might be expected to commit some heavy duty crimes to cover your debt. That’s if indeed you are actually given that opportunity instead of being called a bi*ch (whether you are male or female) and tossed into some ditch.
When you are dealing with gangs, the dope business is no longer just a game of cat and mouse between you and the cops. Gangs are about two things, money and control through brutality. They don’t care about you. They don’t care about your woman, or about your family either. In fact, they will threaten your woman and your family to increase their control if you open the door even a crack to allow them into your life.
You ladies who work the street are a valuable line of defense. You will be among the first people whom the gangs will attempt to control. They might start by demanding that you buy dope from a particular person. You are also the most vulnerable because you willingly walk up to and climb into cars when you have no idea who the driver might be.
CALL THE POLICE AS SOON AS THE FIRST DEMAND OF ANY KIND IS PUT ON YOU. The police will protect your anonymity and initiate the process of identifying your intimidator.
All of you need to be vigilant and ruthless in making the police aware of what is happening with any possible gang activity. It is the only way to protect yourself.
This does not mean that the cops can protect you 24/7. They cannot protect you from your lifestyle. However, they will make you as safe as they possibly can, given the risk factors that you create for yourself.
Any information will help the cops protect you. Give them a phone number. Maybe give them a street name. Or perhaps, give them a description of a guy or of a car, and if you are vigilant, a license plate number. When you see a friend or other working girl climb into a car, make a mental note of any information you observe. You never know when it might become important information with which to protect her and you.
The bottom line here is that if you don’t do these things, you are putting yourself in more danger because you are inviting gangs and violent bullies to control your life. Again, you can do all this without a single soul knowing.
I cannot emphasize strongly enough the dangers these gangs bring. This is especially true for the American gangs. The good news is that they cannot get a foothold without your help.