Former Mexican Mafia hit man Rene (Boxer) Enriquez once again had his hopes for freedom dashed last week when Governor of California Gavin Newsom overturned his parole, deeming Enriquez, locked up since 1990, still a danger to society. Enriquez has been granted parole four different times in the last five years, but in each instance the state’s governor has stepped in to block it.
A two-time convicted murderer, Boxer Enriquez, 56, defected from the Mexican Mafia in 2003 and became a witness for the government. He’s one of the highest-ranking members of the powerful and ruthless prison-centered crime syndicate to ever flip and has testified in a series of successful prosecutions of Mexican Mafia administrators.
According to California’s Department of Corrections, Enriquez will be up for parole again next summer (June 2020). When he is eventually released, he is slated to be given a new identity and placed in the Witness Protection Program.
Enriquez murdered Cynthia Galvandon and David (Bald Dave) Gallegos in Los Angeles in the same week in 1989. Galvandon was suspected by Enriquez and others of skimming from a drug-dealing operation she was a part of. Gallegos, a low-ranking figure in the Mexican Mafia, was killed for leaving a shootout in fear for his safety. Galvandon’s two children have fiercely opposed Enriquez’s parole.
The Mexican Mafia was founded in a California juvenile detention center in the late 1950s and would subsequently spread to the nation’s prison system and then ultimately onto the streets. Known by many as “La Eme” (The M), the group leveraged their power from within prison walls to establish a stronghold in a variety of west coast criminal affairs – “If you control the inside, you can control the outside,” becoming their unofficial mission statement.
Incarcerated on an armed robbery conviction in 1981, Enriquez came under the tutelage of Mexican Mafia lieutenant David (Black Dave) Barela behind bars and worked his way up the syndicate’s ladder, finally inducted as a full-fledged member in 1985. He was released in 1989, but lasted less than a year as a free man before landing back in prison for the Galvandon and Gallegos homicides and another robbery case.
In 1991, while awaiting trial in the L.A. County Jail, Enriquez and fellow La Eme soldier Benjamin (Benny the Mole) Peters attacked Mexican Mafia shot-caller Salvador (Monday) Buenrostro in a lawyer-client conference room, stabbing him 30 times. Peters screamed “die like a man, you fucking punk,” as he skewered Buenrostro with his shank. Brandishing his own homemade prison blade, Enriquez warned a young prison guard to “mind you own business, stay out of this unless you want to get hurt, too.’ Buenrostro, who miraculously survived the knifing, had been bad-mouthing La Eme boss Joe (Pegleg) Morgan.
Despite being of Croatian descent, Morgan grew up in the barrios of East L.A.s Hispanic community and rose to become the top dog in the Mexican prior to dying of cancer in 1993. Morgan and Enriquez were reputed co-conspirators in the 1988 prison-yard murder of La Eme faction leader Nicholas (Nico) Velasquez for Velasquez’s desire to make peace with the African-American prison gang, the Black Guerilla Family.
Enriquez contributed to L.A. investigative reporter Chris Blatchford’s The Black Hand – The Bloody Rise & Redemption of Rene “Boxer” Enriquez released in 2008 and has published two prison memoirs. In 2015, he was allowed to teach a class on street gang culture at UC-Irvine from his prison cell, the same year he controversially spoke at a private conference in L.A. on transnational crime networks, costing taxpayers more than $20,000 in his security and transport for the event.