Arrest Made In Mexican Mafia’s 2021 “Lil’ Man” Ortiz Murder, Ex-La Eme Lieutenant Killed In Chino (CA) For Lying, Betraying Mentor

April 26, 2022 — Police arrested alleged La Eme hit man Cesar Palomino for the November 19, 2021 murder of black-balled Mexican Mafia soldier Donnie (Lil’ Man) Ortiz earlier this month.

After dodging murder contracts on his head for two and a half decades, Ortiz was finally killed on a Chino, California street corner, shot to death down the street from his Philadelphia Avenue residence. He was kicked out of the Mexican Mafia in the 1990s following a costly lie and allegations of theft that upset his mentor.

The 49-year old Palomino was taken into custody in Las Vegas, where he lives. He’s awaiting extradition to California to be arraigned in the case.

Lil’ Man Ortiz came up in La Eme as part of the Whittier Varrio Locos and had an arrest record that dated all the way back to when he was just 11. In 1981, he was convicted on a manslaughter charge. While serving time on a parole violation in 1986 at the L.A. County Jail, he allegedly “made his bones” by killing Northeast L.A. Mexican Mafia lieutenant Danny (Kojack) Deavilla with a butcher’s knife stolen from the jail’s mess hall. But the authenticity of the hit was always in question.

Nonetheless, Lil’ Man Ortiz rose to be the Mexican Mafia’s crew boss in his hometown of Whittier, California. During his reign on the streets in the early-to-mid 1990s, federal authorities believe he ordered or carried out at least three gangland murders.

Ortiz officially fell out of favor with his bosses in La Eme in 1995 and in a meeting of Mexican Mafia shot callers in a motel room in the San Gabriel Valley, the organization booted Lil’ Man from La Eme and placed a contract on his head, per FBI records. Some in the Mexican Mafia were convinced Lil’ Man Ortiz took credit for Kojack Deavilla’s slaying without having committed it. They claimed court documents backed their cause; in the homicide case eventually brought in the Deavilla hit, another La Eme member, Tommy (Lil’ Man) Moreno of the Echo Park clique pleaded guilty to the murder and Lil’ Man Ortiz only copped a plea to accessory.

Ortiz’s mentor and La Eme sponsor Danielo (Buddy) Grajeda reportedly felt betrayed by Ortiz’s actions and signed off on the ’95 contract on his life. Grajeda also accused Ortiz of stealing a car, guns and cash from him.

But, despite a number of attempts and plots, La Eme continually failed to kill Lil’ Man Ortiz. And he continually refused to cooperate against the Mexican Mafia bosses that wanted him dead.

Ortiz was caught stealing a car in a police sting and did 13 years in prison. He was released from behind bars in 2019 and moved into an apartment off Philadelphia Avenue in Chino. In 2020, he was arrested on a charge of drunk and disorderly conduct.

The L.A. Times detailed Lil’ Man Ortiz’s rise and fall back in December in the weeks after his slaying. Tommy Moreno changed his nickname from Lil’ Man to “T-Bone” in the wake of the confusion surrounding credit for the Kojack Deavilla murder and just testified in the defense of a fellow La Eme member Jose (The Pumpkin) Loza in his murder and racketeering trial last year.

Loza, who was one of Lil’ Man Ortiz’s successors as the La Eme crew skipper in Whittier, was found guilty in the case dubbed “Operation Frog Legs” and sentenced to life in federal prison. As part of the case, Loza was convicted in the 2016 slaying of Dominick (Solo) Gonzales, an upstart La Eme lieutenant attempting a takeover of the San Fernando Valley.

According to FBI informant documents, Loza, 44, was one of the Mexican Mafia shot callers actively pursuing the murder contract on Ortiz’s head. He shot Gonzales to death inside a San Gabriel Valley tavern. At trial, Loza asserted self-defense, but the jury didn’t buy it.

This article was originally posted here