Healthcare Curriculum: Buffalo Mafia’s ‘Teach’ Masechia Battling Cancer, Avoids Prison Time For Now

September 3, 2021 – Reputed Buffalo mob figure, narcotics trafficker and high school teacher Michael Masecchia has cancer and his chemotherapy treatments will delay his sentencing on drug and weapons charges for at least a year. The 55-year old “Teach” Masecchia pleaded guilty to marijuana dealing and illegal gun possession last year in front of U.S. District Court Judge John Sinatra, who postponed sending Masecchia to federal prison for eight years last week.

Masecchia was an English teacher and football coach at Grover Cleveland High School in the Buffalo area for more than two decades. As part of his plea deal, he admitted to trafficking in marijuana since 1999 and operating an illicit grow operation in rural Cattaraugus, New York. He also copped to doing business with former DEA agent Joe Bongiovanni. When the DEA raided his residence, agents found nearly $30,000 in cash, 8 unregistered guns, ammo, various forms of anabolic steroids, cocaine, codeine tablets, hypodermic needles and hashish.

Bongiovanni is readying to go to trial in federal court, charged with protecting Buffalo mob-connected drug operations while working in the Buffalo DEA office. The 57-year old Bongiovanni has pleaded not guilty.

Per sources, Masecchia has been involved in Western New York mob affairs for years in various capacities. Some rumors have even pegged him a “made man.” His bust is part of a multi-pronged assault by federal and state authorities, per sources, targeting associates of reputed Buffalo mafia don Joseph (Big Joe) Todaro, Jr. in an effort to bring down the slippery Todaro, Jr., who the FBI believes has headed the crime family for the last 15 years behind the veneer of a pizza-parlor magnate.

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Ray Of Light: “Joe Shine’s” Grandson Avoids Prison In Chicago Outfit’s ’19 Bookmaking Case Out Of Cicero Crew

August 28, 2021 – Chicago mob associate and former Melrose Park police officer John Amabile was spared prison time for his role in a mafia-related sports gambling operation last week. U.S. District Court Judge Martha Pacold instead sentenced him to six months on home confinement and three years probation.

Federal prosecutors described 33-year old Amabile, the grandson of one-time Chicago Outfit rackets boss Joseph (Joe Shine) Amabile and the brother to a reality television star, as the right-hand man, bodyguard and collector for Greg Paloian, a longtime Outfit connected bookmaker and convicted federal felon dying of brain cancer.

Paloian, Amabile and others were indicted in a 2019 case that the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys Office in Chicago claim was being run out of Elmwood Park and Melrose Park, “protected” by Outfit underboss James (Jimmy I) Inendino and paying “tribute” to jailed former Outfit boss Michael (Fat Mike) Sarno. Prison phone and wire-transfer records link the 66-year old Paloian to Sarno, who has been locked up since 2010 on federal racketeering and extortion charges.

FBI documents tie Paloian to one of Jimmy I’s loan sharking operations in the 1990s. Law enforcement considers Paloian and his criminal activities to fall under the auspice of the Outfit’s Cicero regime, dating as far back as the Rocky Infelise days.

Earlier this year, both Paloian and Amabile pleaded guilty in their case. Paloian, diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor after the indictment dropped two years ago, was sentenced to three years in prison, but has been granted a medical delay in reporting to the BOP to begin serving his time.

The FBI estimated Paloian had approximately 60 different bettors wagering with him on a daily basis. According to the court records, he directed his gambling action through a website he owned.

Amabile was an officer in the Melrose Park Police Department between 2015 and 2019, when he was forced to resign because of his current legal troubles. He brought Paloian bettors and split the vigorish on their wagers.

His grandpa, “Joe Shine” Amabile, was a feared Outfit shot caller and enforcer in the 1960s and 1970s. Chicago Crime Commission documents listed him as crew boss of the Stone Park neighborhood and an aide-de-camp to Chicago mafia leader Sam (Teetz) Bataglia.

Joe Shine’s other grandson, Joseph (Grocery Store Joe) Amabile appears on various incarnations of the huge ABC reality dating show franchise The Bachelorette. Joe Shine died of a heart attack in 1975.

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NYC Mob Boss Persico Probably Wasn’t A Rat After All, Ace Reporter Capeci Heads Disputing Of NY Daily News Story

August 27, 2021 – The Dean of American mob writing himself, Jerry Capeci, is at the forefront of a movement to discredit the New York Daily News’ bombshell frontpage story last week declaring deceased Colombo crime family don Carmine (The Snake) Persico a confidential informant for the FBI. The original story cited an FBI document from 1971 in which Persico, among other prominent New York mafia figures, are listed in a column categorized as cooperators.

Some claim reporters and editors at The New York Daily News are misinterpreting the document. Others say even if read correctly, the source for the intelligence included in the document is an unhinged, unreliable and unrepentant mafia enforcer sociopath who’s own cooperation with the government came under great legal and moral scrutiny.

Capeci pens the world-renowned weekly Gangland News column. Gangland News is the publication “of record” for New York mafia activity and history and the gold standard for American mob reporting.

Persico led the Colombo crime family from the mid-1970s until his death in prison of natural causes in 2019 at age 85. He spent the majority of his reign behind bars. The Persico bloodline is the last great mob dynasty existing in the U.S. today.

The New York Daily News obtained the court brief tying Carmine Persico to informant status from attorneys representing Persico’s one-time acting boss turned rival Vittorio (Little Vic) Orena, who is seeking a compassionate release from prison. The document also lists long-dead Big Apple mob powers Paul Castellano and Joseph (Crazy Joe) Gallo in the same cooperator column as Persico.

Castellano was boss of the Gambino crime family until he was assassinated in 1985 on a crowded Manhattan street during rush hour traffic exiting his car in front of Sparks Steakhouse. Crazy Joe Gallo was killed in the spring of 1972 in Little Italy after he dined at Umberto’s Clam House for his role in the first and second Colombo Wars.

The issue critics are taking with the document being waved around by Orena’s attorneys is that the source of the information on the document is named as “NY 3461-C-TE,” better known as infamous informant and mob killer, Greg (The Grim Reaper) Scarpa. When the Persico and Orena factions began shooting it out in the 1990s Colombo War, Scarpa served as the imprisoned Persico’s muscle on the street.

Scarpa, who received a dirty blood transfusion from a heroin-addicted member of his “Wimby Boys” crew, died of AIDS in 1994. Orena, 87, has been locked up since April 1992. Later that year, he was convicted of murder and racketeering.

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Skinny Joey Threatened To Send Luccheses Back To NYC In Body Bags, Rise To Boss Of Philly Mob Co-Signed By Bellomo Of Genovese

August 25, 2021 – The details behind the New York mafia’s sanctioning of Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino reign in Philadelphia, which today is going on two decades of mob decadence and bold gangland maneuvering, came to light last week via former Lucchese crime family soldier John Pennisi. According to Pennisi’s podcast “The MBA & The Button Man,” Merlino was backed by Genovese crime family don Liborio (Barney) Bellomo in his rise to Godfather status in the late 1990s and Bellomo blocked a plot launched by Lucchese boss Vittorio (Little Vic) Amuso from behind bars to stop Merlino’s ascent.

The nation’s most compelling underworld figure, Skinny Joey Merlino, 59, just got off supervised release from a gambling case and is back on the prowl in South Florida……and South Philly. And the Jersey Shore. Swagger has always been his middle name. He once threatened to ship Amuso’s men back to New York in “body bags” if they dare encroach on his turf in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, per the way Pennisi tells it.

Merlino relocated from Philadelphia to Boca Raton in the spring of 2011 following a 12-year federal prison stay for racketeering. Today, the feds claim he runs his crime family from afar through a series of buffers, intermediaries and street bosses. He’s spent the past week enjoying sun and fun at the Shore in Margate.

Back in the 1990s, swashbuckling Skinny Joey fought and won a shooting war to take control of the Philly mob. Part of Merlino’s takeover of the city, involved taking vengeance on past foes, including imprisoned former Philly mafia don, Nicodemo (Little Nicky) Scarfo, who had demoted his father from the crime family underboss position and chased him from the city for a brief period of time before getting locked up in the spring of 1987.

In the years that followed, Merlino returned to South Philly, teamed with an old-school labor racketeer he met while serving a prison sentence for an armored truck heist, rallied a crew of tight-knit childhood friends behind them and conquered the area’s rackets by force. One of his first orders of business was to take aim at Scarfo’s son, “Nicky, Jr” as a way of sending a message to his pops in the pen that there was a new regime in town and it wasn’t recognizing past arrangements.

Authorities consider Merlino the No. 1 suspect in a failed hit attempt on Little Nicky’s progeny, a brazen Halloween night shooting in the middle of a crowded restaurant. Nicky, Jr. subsequently left Philadelphia and took refuge in New York’s Lucchese crime family under the protection of his father’s close pal and prison confidant Lucchese boss Little Vic Amuso.

At first, Skinny Joey slid into the underboss role once held by his dad, allowing the eager and brash Ralph Natale — fresh from a decade and a half in a federal correctional facility for drug, extortion and arson offenses — to be the new Philly don. Natale was a Teamster union tough guy and troubleshooter in the 1960s and 1970s and introduced and vouched for Merlino to a number of New York mob luminaries he had met in prison.

Merlino and Natale were cellmates between 1989 and 1991. Over their two years together inside, they plotted their seizure of the Bruno-Scarfo crime family and Merlino and his buddies executed the plan upon Merlino’s release. Natale came out of prison in 1994 and declared himself Godfather. He was sanctioned by New York’s Gambino, Colombo and Genovese crime families, despite his ascent’s unusual order of operations – Merlino actually “made” or inducted Natale into La Cosa Nostra, not the other way around.

Although he was officially the No. 2 in charge, it became clear years later that Merlino was running his own shadow government behind Natale’s back and keeping him in the dark on many important orders of business. When Natale was arrested in the summer of 1998 on a parole violation, Merlino pushed him out as boss and took the Bruno-Scarfo crime family all for himself.

The first issue Skinny Joey faced as the newly-minted 36-year old mob don of Philly was his own sanctioning in New York; as in, he wasn’t sanctioned. Little Vic Amuso and Little Nicky Scarfo, locked away together in a federal prison in Atlanta, used this fact to try and derail Merlino’s burgeoning mob empire and delegitimize Skinny Joey’s status as a boss.

Unlike Scarfo, Little Vic maintained power in his borgata after he went away to prison for life in 1991. Per informants, once Natale was incarcerated, Amuso began seeking to help Scarfo reclaim the Philly mob and usurp Merlino’s influence.

John Pennisi was a solider in Amuso’s Lucchese clan. He flipped in 2018 when he learned his superiors had placed a murder contract on his head and his testimony sank nearly the entire sitting Lucchese administration at a series of trials two years ago. These days, Pennisi blogs (Sitdown News) and records a podcast/YouTube show called The MBA & The Button Man with Tom LaVecchia.

Last week, Pennisi gave his listeners a behind-the-scenes scoop about Merlino’s rise. Pennisi socialized with Merlino and his South Philly crew during his tenure as a made man in the mafia.

On his pod, Pennisi said Amuso put word out on the street that the Lucchese family wasn’t recognizing Merlino’s reign. After Merlino established a satellite office in Boston, Amuso reached out from prison to his contacts in the New England mafia’s Patriarca crime family and told them not to recognize Merlino or the new Philly crew operating in their backyard.

Rumors began floating to Merlino that Amuso and Scarfo might be sending Lucchese soldiers into South Philly to try and execute some absorption agenda. Merlino sent word back to Amuso and Scarfo if any Luccheses were seen lurking in South Philly, he’d be sending them back to New York “in body bags,” per what Pennisi was told.

Merlino was jailed in 1999 and convicted of racketeering two years later. He kept tight control of the Philly mob from prison when he served more than a decade, still forced to dodge Amuso and Scarfo’s scheming, as well as violent coups being plotted within other factions of the New York mob.

The overwhelming sense on the streets of the east coast at that juncture was that Merlino was exposed and vulnerable. Skinny Joey proved them all wrong.

First, Merlino’s Newark captain and North Jersey crew boss, Peter (Pete the Crumb) Caprio struck a deal with the Gambino and Genovese families to seize power by bumping off Merlino’s acting boss, underboss and consigliere in a triple homicide and forcing him off the throne. Caprio was indicted in March 2000 instead and turned state’s evidence, spilling the beans about his abandoned coup attempt to the feds.

Amuso and Scarfo continued to press for Merlino’s banishment, but according to Pennisi’s pod, Genovese Godfather Barney Bellomo stepped in and declared Skinny Joey boss once and for all, validating him with all New York mob families, besides Amuso’s Luccheses.

Bellomo, 64, is considered the preeminent don the Big Apple. He was the Genovese street boss when he halted all debate on the legitimacy of Merlino’s administration in the Philly mafia. The FBI believes Bellomo was appointed official boss of the Genovese crime family in 2010.

Little Nicky Scarfo died of a heart attack in 2017 in a North Carolina prison hospital at age 87. Amuso is 86 and serving his time in a Cumberland, Maryland federal correctional institute. He maintains the final word on all Lucchese affairs on the street to this very day, according to the FBI.

This article was originally posted here

50 Cent Named As Co-Defendant In Lawsuit Claiming He & Others Stole “Ghost” Holland’s Story To Make Power

August 22, 2021 – Real-life reformed New York drug kingpin Cory (Ghost) Holland is suing 50 Cent, Courtney Kemp and the Starz cable network for one billion dollars, claiming they ripped off his life story for the plot of the smash-hit Starz television franchise Power. Holland filed his lawsuit in federal court out of Manhattan back in the spring.

Kemp, 44, created the show that centers around fictional NYC drug lord James (Ghost) St. Patrick, played by actor Omari Hardrick. Superstar rapper and hip-hop mogul 50 Cent executive produced and co-starred in the series, which has already spawned two successful spinoffs. Power ran for six seasons (2014-2020), establishing a fervent fan base and Starz as a player in the scripted TV space. Critics hailed the show as the “Black Sopranos.”

According to the lawsuit, Holland left prison in the 1990s and in 2007 put together a biographical DVD and a rap CD to distribute in an attempt to dissuade young kids from a life of crime. Holland met with Kemp’s father and when his DVD and rap CD came out, he sent both Kemps copies.

Similar to Power and its Ghost character, Holland had a Caucasian right-hand man and dated and married women that resembled the women Ghost St. Patrick romanced in the show. Holland’s lawsuit claims that between 100 to 200 scenes from Power we’re lifted directly from what he shared with the Kemps.

Holland’s right-hand man was a white guy named Jamie. The character in the show played by Joe Sikora was named “Tommy.”

Lawyers for Kemp and 50 Cent responded by calling the allegations and subsequent litigation frivolous and without merit. 50 Cent’s new show, Black Mafia Family, chronicling the rise and fall of the infamous Flenory brothers from Detroit, who build the biggest urban narcotics organization in American history and ingrained itself in the pop culture ethos of the late 1990s and early 2000s, is set to premiere on Starz next month. Kemp recently inked a deal with Netflix to develop scripted streaming content.

This article was originally posted here

Persico Ratted In ’71, Per FBI Doc, Court Record, Providing Potential Whole New Insight Into ’90s Colombo Mob War

August 20, 2021 — The NY Daily News reported that legendary New York mob don Carmine (The Snake) Persico was once a confidential informant for the FBI, citing an FBI document from 1971. At the time the document was drafted, Persico was still a few years away from earning the title of Godfather. The information was gleaned from court records filed by attorneys for Persico’s one-time rival Vittorio (Little Vic) Orena in his quest for freedom.

Orena and Persico went to war for control of the Colombo crime family in the early 1990s, with Persico serving a life prison sentence behind bars and Orena running crime family affairs on the street. Today, Orena sits in prison convicted of murder and racketeering linked to the unrest. Persico died behind bars two years ago.

Below is a breakdown of all the Colombo War action back in those crazy days and nights of 1991, 1992 and 1993, as factions of Persico and Orena loyalists stalked each other and engaged in wanton violence on the streets of Brookyln.

The Colombo War Hit List (1991-1993):

November 24, 1991 – Colombo soldier Henry (Hank the Bank) Smurra is killed behind the wheel of his car parked in front of a Dunkin Donuts in Brooklyn. Smurra was a Persico loyalist and a week earlier had been part of a hit team that opened fire on Persico’s primary muscle on the streets, Greg (The Grim Reaper) Scarpa, his young granddaughter and his daughter in their Brooklyn neighborhood in broad daylight.

December 2, 1991 – Aging Genovese crime family lieutenant Gaetano (Tommy Scars) Amato is shot to death in an attack on Colombo associate Joey Tolino on a Brooklyn street corner. Tolino was an Orena loyalist.

December 5, 1991 – Aging Colombo soldier Rosario (Black Sam) Nastasi is slain inside his Belvedere Social Club in Brooklyn while he was playing cards. Natasi was a Persico loyalist.

December 7, 1991 – Colombo crime family soldier Vincent (Vinnie VenusFusaro is murdered in front of his house in the Bath Beach section of Brooklyn, gunned down as he hung his Christmas lights. Fusaro was an Orena loyalist,

December 8, 1991 – Innocent bystander Matteo Speranza, a teenage immigrant from Sicily, is killed by accident at a bagel shop in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn during an attack on a Persico loyalist.

January 7, 1992 – Colombo crime family captain Nicholas (Nicky Black) Grancio is shotgunned to death behind the wheel of his Toyota Land Cruiser SUV on a Brooklyn street corner. Grancio was a high-ranking Orena loyalist.

March 25, 1992 – Colombo crime family lieutenants Johnny Minerva & Mike Imbergamo are gunned down sitting in Minerva’s car outside the Broadway Diner in North Massapequa. Minerva and Imbergamo were Orena loyalists.

May 22, 1992 – Colombo crime family soldier Lorenzo (Larry Lamps) Lampisi is shot-gunned to death in his Brooklyn driveway. Lampisi was an Orena loyalist.

October 7, 1992 – Colombo crime family lieutenant Steven (Stevie Lightning) Mancusi is killed as he is getting into his car. Mancusi was a Persico loyalist.

October 20, 1993 – Colombo crime family capo Joey Scopo is executed in the front yard of his house in Queens, ending the war and keeping power with the Persico group. Scopo was a leader of the Orena faction and holding the fort down for the insurgence with Little Vic behind bars.

*Orena’s main muscle in the war was charismatic capo William (Wild Bill) Cutolo, who in the aftermath of the feud would eventually get promoted to underboss as a peace gesture, but slain in the spring of 1999 when Persico felt he was poised to launch another offensive.

This article was originally posted here

Eminem to play White Boy Rick on 50 Cent’s new drama ‘BMF’

The Real Slim Shady has landed his next gig. Eminem is set to guest star on pal and fellow Aftermath Records hitmaker 50 Cent’s newest Starz drama, “BMF” (“Black Mafia Family”).

Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers, will play White Boy Rick on one episode of the series, according to The Wrap.

“I’m honored and appreciative of my good friend Em for supporting my new show ‘BMF,’” Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson said in a statement. “We couldn’t do a show based in Detroit without incorporating the legend that is Eminem.”

Jackson, 46, also tweeted a little fun tidbit on Tuesday about the episode that Eminem, 48, will be starring in. The “Candy Shop” singer explained that he will be directing the Detroit-native’s episode, and will be using similar technology that director Martin Scorsese used in his 2019 film, “The Irishman,” to de-age Eminem. “I directed ‘BMF’ EPISODE 7 it is amazing. I used the same digital de-aging special effects they used in ‘The Irishman.’ To take @eminem back to his teenage years,” Fiddy wrote.

Richard Wershe Jr., a.k.a White Boy Rick, became an FBI informant during the ages of 14 to 16. He sold drugs and guns while being a member of a Detroit gang. By 17, Wershe was duped by the feds and apprehended for cocaine possession. While Wershe, now 52-years-old, was sentenced to life in prison, he was paroled and released in June 2020.

Wershe’s legendary activities have become gospel in the hip-hop industry. A 2017 documentary entitled “White Boy” was released as well as a movie about his life starring Matthew McConaughey, which premiered in 2018.

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson Is Honored With A Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame
50 Cent will be directing Eminem in episode 7 of “BMF.”
Getty Images

“BMF” is based on the tale of two brothers, Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory and Terry “Southwest T” Flenory, who gained prominence on the streets of southwest Detroit in the late 1980s. The pair rose to infamy for creating one of the biggest crime families in the country.

The “We Made You” rapper was previously seen on film in 2002’s “8 Mile.” Eminem won the Oscar for Best Original Song for the gritty drama’s theme song, “Lose Yourself,” in 2003.

“BMF” will premiere Sept. 26 on Starz.

This article was originally posted here

The OBH Robbie Johnson Hit: Philly ’17 Drug World Murder Set In Motion By OBH Rapper AR-Ab, Feds Claim

August 14, 2021 – Imprisoned Philadelphia rap mogul and crime lord Abdul (AR-Ab) West ordered the murder of drug dealer Robbie (The Bull) Johnson and then spit lyrics about the hit in the days that followed, according to the federal government. Johnson, 28, was slain four years ago.

The 38-year old West has never been charged in the Johnson homicide, but is serving a 45-year prison sentence for racketeering and narcotics trafficking. West founded and oversaw the Original Block Hustlaz crew in North Philly. His main enforcer, Dontez (The Tazmanian Devil) Stewart, admitted to killing Johnson on West’s orders and was the star witness at West’s 2019 trial.

Johnson was slain in the early morning hours of of October 14, 2017 behind the wheel of his Nissan SUV. West is alleged to have put a contract on Johnson’s head for him being disloyal to the “OBH” organization and doing business with other local drug crews.

“Taz” Stewart testified to texting another OBH member and triggerman, “Time to smoke the Bull,” in the minutes that preceded Johnson’s execution. Johnson was lured from the Vanity Grand strip club to a purported drug deal by Stewart, when in fact it was an ambush.

According to his testimony, Stewart was paid $10,000 in drugs for the wet work delivered. In the minutes after fleeing the scene of the crime, Stewart texted AR-Ab, “Touchdown.”

AB-Ar wrote rap lyrics the afternoon of the murder on his IPhone, referencing the Johnson hit, according to the feds. The lyrics, “I call Taz and tell him bring that nigga head to me,” made their way onto a song posted to AR-Ab’s social media accounts on October 18, just four days after Johnson was killed.

Stewart was introduced to AR-Ab by AR-Ab’s fellow OBH rapper and music label co-founder Charles (Dark Lo) Salley in around 2015. Dark Lo was recently sentenced to eight years in federal prison for threatening Taz Stewart via a hand written letter the day prior to his testimony at the AR-Ab trial. AR-Ab and Dark Lo were the two biggest underground rappers in the Philly hip hop scene at the time of the OBH bust, referring to themselves as the city’s “Top Goons.”

This article was originally posted here

Loving Spoonful Of Trouble: NYC Gangster Disciples ‘No Love City’ Crew Goes Down In Federal Indictment

August 11, 2021 – Four of the five leaders of the Gangster Disciples Brooklyn faction, known as the “No Love City” crew, were indicted in federal court out of New York this week for their roles in a series of shootings and firearm offenses. The Gangster Disciples is the biggest Midwest street gang in the country, based in Chicago, with numerous satellite crews established in cities on the east coast and down south.

On Tuesday morning, Lorenzo (St. Clair Renzo) Bailey, Hans (YL Flocks) Destine, Jean (Big Twirl) Fremont and Deryck (D Benzo) Thompson were among the near dozen New York GDs named in the case. Bailey, 32, was arrested in Atlanta, while Destine, 30, Fremont, 30, and Thompson, 22, were brought into custody in Brooklyn.

They compose four-fifths of the No Love City faction’s “Steering Committee,” which makes policy and settles disputes for the Brooklyn GD subset, the indictment claims, and each face up to ten years in prison if convicted of the charges. St. Clair Renzo Bailey is the committee’s chairman and the first among equals, per NYPD records. Thompson serves as the NLC’s main enforcer, according to sources in law enforcement.

All four 2020 shooting incidents listed in the indictment were tied to rising tensions between the No Love City GD crew and the Brooklyn Crips. In a 48-hour period last November, Bailey, Destine, Fremont and Thompson were involved in five successive altercations resulting in multiple drive-by shootings in the same day.

The Crips is an iconic Los Angeles-based street gang that began forming a presence out east in the late 1990s. The Gangster Disciples boast a roster of 30,000 members nationwide.

This article was originally posted here

Crowing In Celebration: Mexican Mafia Don Johnny Martinez Gets Cut Loose From Murder Case By Ca. State Judge

August 10, 2021 – Orange County Superior Court Judge Patrick Donahue has dismissed pending murder charges against Mexican Mafia boss Johnny (The Crow) Martinez. The 45-year old Martinez was accused of ordering the 2017 slaying of drug dealer Robert Rios in Placentia, California, reportedly for Rios’ refusal to pay “La Eme,” a street tax on his narcotics business.

The case was initially tossed on an appeal related to grand jury evidence procedure, but reinstated and bound over for trial back in March. In May, however, it was revealed that a sheriffs deputy perjured himself on the stand in a pretrial hearing. Martinez is alleged to be the boss of the Mexican Mafia’s Southern California group.

The Mexican Mafia or “La Eme,” was founded in the California prison system in the late 1950s and eventually spread to the outside world. La Eme’s strongholds are in California and Texas, but California’s faction is the most influential. Martinez grabbed power in La Eme three years ago, going from Orange County lieutenant to shot caller to the No. 1 boss of the entire organization, per California State Police records.

Martinez took over from his mentor, Pete (The Fury) Ojeda, the Mexican Mafia’s longtime don, who died of a heart attack in 2018 after establishing Orange County as La Ema’s “county seat.” His rise to the throne resulted in upheaval and wanton violence, both inside and outside prison walls.

The 35-year old Rios was shot to death on his front lawn by a masked team of hit men on January 19, 2017. Besides Martinez, the feds charged seven other La Eme members with Rios’ killing. According to eye witnesses, Rios left his residence and approached his assailants trying to negotiate with them before being knocked to the ground by two of them and executed by the other gunman.

The order for Rios murder was allegedly relayed to the hit team by Greg (Money) Munoz, then Martinez’s right-hand man. Munoz and Martinez fell out in the months after the Rios slaying and Munoz survived a 2018 assassination attempt where he was shot eight times.

Martinez has been behind bars for the past two decades, serving a 15-year prison stint for a murder from the 1990s. He allegedly green-lit Rios’ killing from inside Salinas Valley State Prison in Monterey, using a smuggled cell phone, according to the indictment filed against him.

One of the members of hit team turned state’s evidence. Martinez still faces trial in a separate attempted murder case stemming from the unrest tied to his ascension.

This article was originally posted here