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Gerardo Lopez on the History of MS-13 and His Experience as a Former Member (Full Interview)

Gerardo Lopez on the History of MS-13 and His Experience as a Former Member (Full Interview)
all right here we go we have

gerardo

lopez

former

ly of the notorious ms-13 gang now this is the first time we've actually

interview

ed someone from ms-13 so i just want to go into the

history

of the gang first because not only is ms-13 known for the extreme violence but they're also known for being singled out by donald trump in order to deport south americans in general and children in particular without due process right so let's go ahead and get into the whole

history

so ms-13 started in the 1980s correct okay and talk about sort of the situations that caused the group to form initially okay well i guess to talk about emerson team we have to understand the

history

of what happened in salvador first which was the white people decided to uh form ms-13 or fearless uh before the civil war even started in salon it was a right-wing government fighting against uh taking land away from the the compensators the farmers if he will in salvador and they got tired of it so they started to unionize and started forming their own groups and fighting against the the government and this happened for for several years and as time went on there's other uprisings that were coming up in latin america as well fighting against their government because they felt oppressed as as well and during this time it was just uh chaos and el salvador and the united states intervened because they were fearful of these countries in latin america becoming communist or being during that time...
gerardo lopez on the history of ms 13 and his experience as a former member full interview
soviet union influenced the arena for them to become communist countries so they started funding this civil war and after aftermath of this award there was about there was hundreds of thousands of deaths when kids went to school or when they were just around the neighborhood they saw these wars bombs going off walking down the street seeing bodies being decapitated could have been their friends their family

member

s or people they just didn't know but they saw all these violence all together and late at night military soldiers from the government would come into the people's houses and try to take away their kids for them to be able to join the military so these were kids that were 10 11 12 years old that were now taught all these things that the government was trained by the school of the americas in the united states that all these training came into el salvador which was a brutal training if you will so parents had no choice but to go ahead and flee in salvador to a safer country so they were refugees and they came into the united states and some of these kids were sent by themselves to go with their aunts or their uncles and a lot of their kids their parents had already died so they went into a neighborhood where in pretty much in pico union korea town in los angeles where there was already violence there was already gangs and there was already drugs and there was no not a whole lot of uh opportunity for a youth to be able to survive all those things that were...
gerardo lopez on the history of ms 13 and his experience as a former member full interview
going on so as the gang formed these kids started going to to school if you will and when they started going to sleep before the gang from excuse me these kids started going to school and they were being made fun because of that their dialect now the dialect of salvador is very different from the dialect of mexico if a kid from el salvador tells somebody hey to a mexican the mexican guy is going to be very offended the same way if a mexican kid tells a salvadorian kid the salvadoran kid is going to go ahead and get offended and then you have the chicano american kid who speaks both languages and the chicano will go ahead and be the kid who's born in the united states but their parents are from some country in latin america so there's bullying because of that of the way they talked and it was a strange culture to the people living in the neighborhood not just chicanos were the mexicans but kids from other different countries as well it was somewhat of a culture class if you will and there was a group of kids not not all the salvadoran kids there's a whole lot of salvadoran kids that didn't join ms but the way that it started was the saw recording kids started forming their own group called mss which was mara salvatrucha stoners and the gang started as a protection for anti-bullying if you will against other people within schools and these kids started fighting um back but it consisted of a rock it was more of a heavy metal gang where they went to these concerts...
gerardo lopez on the history of ms 13 and his experience as a former member full interview
like the light likes of uh black sabbath acdc and when they went to the concerts they saw people that had the ripped up jeans the shirt with the tongue hanging out the long hair headbanging and going like this which was the ms sign so they adapted that heavy metal sign which turned out to be the famous ms um sign if you will so when they were in the street now they need now you have this group and they were they started hanging around in the street and other gangs took a notice of them that they were uprising if you will so from smoking weed to heavy metal now they were being um assaulted by these other gang

member

s if you will so they started defending themselves they started getting locked up now when they started getting locked up they were still being made fun of because they were saying that they were in a gang if you will but they look like um like heavy metal people people that were going to those concerts and right there this is the movie this is the time when the movie colors came out right you saw the dress the nike cortes shoes dick and pants the pendleton shirts the tattoos the shaved heads so from right there they started adapting this style and the tattoos as well and they also began to learn the language if you will english because a lot of these kids they came over when they were 10 11 or 12. and when they got deported back to el salvador when they got off that plane from salvador it was like you know rock stars coming off that plane that kids started seeing...
them because they were dressed like the cholos from the movies they had the tattoos and they spoke english as well so of course the the girls right there you know they flocked to them the kids saw that the other girls were flocking to them they wanted to go ahead and be just like them so when they landed in el salvador it was a whole different culture for them because a whole lot of them were already in the united states for several years that was their home and in salvador it was a strange country to them now because their family ties wasn't as as as grounded if you would because a lot of their family had got killed in the civil war so they had kids then they had their life in the united states of america so their plan was to always try to go ahead and come back but at the same time there was people that began to jump people in over in salvador and that's how the the gang continued to grow and grow so the name ms13 uh what does it stand for so ms is so m is mara and the s is salvatrucha and 13 is obviously the 13th letter of the alphabet for the letter m okay now does that have something to do with army ants well you see what i'm saying like there is a the marabunta right is aka an army ant which is considered one of the deadliest uh really animals in in nature it's basically it would eat through anything it would it would attack anything and just run through anything flesh you know uh plants whatever in order to get to what they wanted is there some sort of...
connection to that you know if you continue to see the

history

of what ms stanford or ms is they i re

member

sitting down in couches like like this right here right here and people will go ahead and talk and try to make um images of something and try to portray it even more and and more um you know give it giving it more spice to whatever it was but there was some talk about the the those ants as um as well but mata in general is a slang word in el salvador like saying where are you gonna where's the mara at like where is the group so mara was even befo award that is a salvadorian war that was even formed before ms started so that's how they got the mara and salvatrucha is slang for salvadorian okay so in order to join the gang there's something called a beat in right and it goes for 13 seconds correct where they basically all the other gang

member

s will beat on you and then after 13 seconds you're considered part of the gang correct okay now you know you talked about the the hand signs i guess called the devil's head well again it consisted of the hand sign was um was copied from the heavy metal rock concerts that were um right there in salvador so nobody knew what it really was they just saw everybody going like this and in some metallica stuff that was the time when the metallica music was deemed satanic right devilish yeah mostly crew motley crap shout out to the devil right all that like yeah satanic imagery and heavy metal were kind of going together...
in the 80s right so re

member

all that right so when you go like this it's also like that and then it it played in well with within the game because if they consist of during those times with the devil's horns and then it consists that if you turn the hand sign upside down it's an m as well ah gotcha now along with the hand signs came the tattoos right now in 2020 seeing a rapper with a bunch of face tattoos is considered normal but back then you never saw it right and ms-13 guys were like the first ones that i really saw with very heavy heavy face tattoos eddie ballet i re

member

being in the in juvenile facilities in the early about 1991 i turned into when i was locked up in central juvenile hall los ballerinos silmar i went to camp and there was a whole lot of there was some people right there already that those face tattoos there was some easterla gangs that already had it a lot of the people that were actually known for the face tattoos with the people from 18th street as um as well and again that was just another step that ms-13 began mimicking if you will of other gangs to try to go ahead and fit in because again the gang did not start in the salvador the gang started with the la culture influence with in the in the united states and if you re

member

back in i mean back in the days you know we're talking about the 60s or something the first tattoo of a gang

member

was probably like a teardrop or a smile now cry later or brown pride so they started copying...
the tattoos from there but yes absolutely ms-13 did take it over the top if you will with the face with the face yeah i mean i mean you see you know ms covering the right person's face you see the horns right on the head right you see the 13 uh you know people's entire faces tatted up that's considered somewhat normal with ms-13 whereas it's not quite as common when you see like the mexican mafia or the the crips and bloods and so forth well there is to i would say regardless with the with the horns but there but you i mean you make you make a great point because i i do see that but going into the the stuff that i was seeing like let's say in los angeles there is some people that you you see you know with the ms tattoos but when you're going to el salvador now we're talking about ms-13 and salado then yeah absolutely there is everybody almost a whole lot of people right there have those ms tattoos in their face okay so these kids they they come over to the u.s they get in trouble then they get deported back to el salvador now before ms-13 there wasn't any significant gangs in el salvador correct from what i understand but then once ms-13 starts coming back they were the rock stars right they had all this cool american things about them and everyone started to uh to really kind of copy them you know and not copy them but but want to be involved in what it is that they're doing now during this time it's kind of an interesting time in el...
salvador because i guess there's something called the chapel epic peace accords did i say that right um so basically after the the revolution had had been you know finished the the salvadoran government was required to stop using the standard the standing army as a police force and form a new national police service but the the ruling party uh arena it was kind of the descendant of the wartime military government so it actually there was a delay in creating the national police force and by the time it was finally formed there was kind of like a lack of a police in el salvador so as the ms-13 guys were kind of building up power there was no real police presence right uh to really go against them is this kind of accurate in terms of what's happening yeah well absolutely the thing also was that they were just trying to recover from a civil war if you will we're facing poverty we're facing um a whole lot of devs murders trying to even reconnect families or somebody trying to even survive a day of what they're going to eat or where they're going to go ahead and live and now with all these deportations happen now ms has this um now ms started right now and it's an uprising and they don't know how to go ahead and deal or handle the clan culture so absolutely ms

member

s did take advantage of that to continue to start that uprising over there in in salvador because of the lack of resources over their law enforcement rights as um as well but then also...
they did start the way that they figured out how to go ahead in combat they did start making these government groups which was like like the sombra negra what we have right now is the military groups that they're called of the elimination meaning that they're just right there mainly to hunt ms-13

member

s so if you're going there was a time when people were getting deported and the united salvador said we can't handle this how we're going to handle these issues so if you were from ms and you were getting off that plane the militants the sombra nega would go ahead and disappear you from as soon as you got off that plane and go ahead and kill you and if you were with your family they will go ahead and kill them as well yeah no i was watching a lot of documentaries about this and you know you see the guys that are basically ending up back in el salvador and they're like hey man uh my friend got deported six months ago and he was killed right away so they kind of don't know what to do they may not want to join back into ms-13 but they're scared for their lives against the police so they end up joining the gang just to survive right so it's kind of a catch-22 situation it is so along with you know the civil war had just ended in el salvador there was all these weapons all around the country and it wasn't really controlled at the time so you had all these guns all this heavy ammunition and you know essentially ms-13 became arms traffickers...
during this time is that accurate i i never heard something of of to that extent that they have access to some guns um absolutely but i think also we have to understand where these guns came from they didn't come from el salvador they came from america yeah and i'm gonna get into that it's really kind of ironic how you know america has this problem with ms-13 but they kind of created ms-13 right indirectly right so a lot of it is like there's now there's just havoc in el salvador now who is it that we're going to go ahead and blame this uh stuff at does ms-13 have a fault to a certain extent of starting the gang right there absolutely absolutely but then also what was the opportunity for a kid to even not wanting to go ahead and get a gun and defend themselves when he saw that there was no type of youth activities or or and there was people in sweat labors or sweatshops getting paid very low ways to to be trying to able to go ahead and survive now violence is one of the one of the main attributes of ms-13 but but not only violence but violence involving minors seems to be a major a major theme with the victims being minors as well as the suspects for the actual killings being minors as well why is there such a focus on children well it's the gang culture i think when i was 15 or 16 years old the people that we were assaulting or attacking it was kids killing kids and when you start thinking about ms-13 sometimes you do have this picture of...
what's been portrayed to you as the the mean looking gang

member

with the face tattoos and you will think that this person is 20 30 something years old killing these kids but in reality it's youth from a certain gang fighting against kids from ms 13 2 which a lot of times we forget that these kids from these people from ms-13 they're also kids as as um as well and a whole and they're they have done some horrific um crimes as well and the victims that they that you do see like the stuff that you're probably talking about recently from the east coast it's kids that are having um situations with other kids at some schools that are they're the same age and the way that these kids um are letting out their aggression or the way that they saw from the aftermath in the wars and el salvador is through that extent of um of violence well ms-13 starts to spread to other uh south american central american countries right uh and the violence was really just off the meter there was a situation in honduras where i guess the honduran government wanted to restore the death penalty and there was a situation in 2004 where a whole bus was sprayed up right um 28 people dead 14 uh wounded most of the passengers were women and children right uh six six different people just sprayed the bus with guns and then another person actually went on board on the bus and just started executing people uh you know a guy named uh juan batista jimenez he was accused of masterminding the...
uh the massacre and then when he got to prison he was actually killed by other ms-13

member

s uh you know buses would get burned up in broad daylight for going to the wrong neighborhoods uh police would be targeted government officials would be targeted um you know it got to the point where the supreme court in el salvador actually classified uh them as a terrorist organization and there were there were really situations where there was presidents in el salvador that would have to negotiate with ms-13 to try to lower the killings and so forth so it really as big as ms-13 was in the u.s in el salvador it became a major major entity right and you're familiar with with all this type of thing correct but why do you think that it became so huge in el salvador considering that it started in la well a lot of it consists of the deportations that we had of the immigrant people being deported if they had any ties to uh if they committed any type of crime like in 1995 or 1996 you would go ahead and get deported even if it was some type of misdemeanor and when you continue to just have oppression to try to go ahead and fix a problem a gang is notorious for ms-13 but your thing is your strategy is just to go ahead and try to kill them or try to go ahead and push them out of the out away to from that town to they're just going to go to go ahead and a nearby town but nobody go went ahead and focused on the rehabilitation of the gang

member

nobody went to continue and focus on...
what's causing ms-13 to continue to spread was there lack any the lack of opportunity of resources of jobs of even mental health um social services in salvador there was really none of that stuff so in order for us to be able to stop the ms-13 from continuing to form we have to go ahead and give opportunities for other kids that want to go ahead and to get into other gangs and give them opportunities for them to think about not joining that gang and say you know what here's this job here's this uh facil this youth facility here's this mental health services or here's this um this curriculum of this program that's going to help you through the healing that you grew up seeing throughout your life or how do you go ahead and um parent or how do you go ahead and be a good parent or a good citizen of society if if you will so we have to go ahead and start focusing on the rehabilitation and again in salvador there was and there was none of that so it's going to continue to form whether it's it's ms-13 where it's um other gangs it's just going to continue to uprise as as um as well without those resources well ms-13 was was growing but it was somewhat disorganized i guess it was clicks you know friends doing doing various things but then in 1990 a guy named ernesto deras came around are you familiar with him might have heard of him so he was actually a

former

member

of the salvadorian special forces and he was trained in panama by the...
united states green berets mm-hmm and once he actually got into ms-13 and started becoming a leader he actually used the military training that he learned from the u.s to actually organize ms-13 into more of a an organized gang no no no don't know about this at all well i i haven't heard of it so i don't think one person will have that pool to go ahead and organize the the stuff like that you always hear about ms-13 about militant people joining the gang yeah when i grew up i would probably say one to two percent maybe where they had some type of militant influence but there wouldn't be one person who went ahead and said okay now this is a whole military operation because if that started in salvador then that would have probably trickled down to the united states and um well this was actually in the united states from what i understand in the united states i i believe so yeah no no no no no okay so maybe i'm wrong about that it's just very ironic though that the green berets taught a guy who ended up using that in ms-13 what well the school of the americas taught a whole lot of the the excuse me did the beef inaudib 18th street gang start well it started there's there's different stories to it right there these are like uh folk tales if you will and the one that's probably more accurate to me and just like gang stuff sometimes it starts over a girl you you took my girl that's what she's messing with right because at one point 18th...
street and ms-13 were actually friendly with each other right and then a situation with a girl a situation with a girl happen at a party and i believe it was an 18th street

member

that um that got shot and that went ahead and started the war between ms and 18th streets and that's now spread into other countries as well so in el salvador you have 18th street and then you start about all you have 18 street you have 18 streets and yeah in different parts different different parts of the world and different parts of the world as um as well and this this war um probably about nine or ten years ago there was a peace treaty in el salvador where the government in salvador was um negotiating with ms 13

member

s and 18 street

member

s right there and they were starting to and what they were asking was the stuff that i just said right now about mental health services better food or being able for them for both guys to see their their families as well some type of better clothes and when you're in salvador i mean you're wearing the what you're wearing for weeks upon months so as soon as the united states caught wind that the government was um was dealing or negotiating with the gang

member

s the government and the salvador went ahead and got scared off and said no we're not dealing with them and that's when the talks stopped and in salvador i believe the murder rate right there was um it was about 15 per day when the peace treaty started you were having um one or two...
per day which i mean that's still bad i mean anybody being killed still bad but you could see the the demographics you know changed as well i mean it's just interesting how these wars will start over a girl like for example like in you have the war between the rolling 60s and the hra gangsters right and that started over a girl the girl was seeing you know a guy from each of these crews a fight broke out someone got killed then the other side retaliated and then 30 years later you have literally hundreds of people dead over a couple of teenagers right fighting over a girl right who you know probably went on and messed with someone else right afterwards right uh and a lot of times trying to even understand what that girl was going through herself you know her why was she even there what was the pain that that she was going through as well yeah well by 2004 uh the fbi actually created an ms-13 national gang task force right so they actually started working with law enforcement el salvador honduras guatemala and mexico and actually had an office in el salvador to deal with this by 2008 they set up uh a series of arrests and crackdowns all over the world that involved like 6 000 police officers in five different countries uh 650 people were taken into custody so you just started to see these worldwide sweeps that was coordinated so it became a very serious thing you did uh do you re

member

this time i do re

member

this time and i re

member

let me give you a little you know...
just to talk about a little bit of

history

of that i re

member

when i came out of of california youth authority yts in 1997. i was about 18 or 19 years old and i was walking around my street in in korea town my my old neighborhood and any given time before i got locked up you would see five you know 10 ms 13

member

s late at night hanging at a certain blocks and during this time when i got out i was like damn where what happened to all my homies because there was a turf war between ms-13 and ms-13 in 1996 over a certain uh street that was that was drug trafficking and a lot of people wanted to be in that and a lot of people didn't want to go ahead and drug trafficking and say you know what this is art click go to your click sway ms and ms started fighting there was deaths there was killings and some people from ms didn't want to be part of that so a lot of them moved away some of them just calmed down stopped banging and a lot of them got locked up as well and i re

member

the rampart crash officers they would go ahead and pull me over and tell me damn clara my nickname if you will what happened to ms-13 that turf war went ahead and killed you guys and i was like wow and you will only see a few homies so as time went on during a few years later then the fbi did wage the war on um on gangs so you need a perfect villain for that a lot of times the immigrant community are the ones that get that short end of the stick from generations upon generations upon generations so this...
villain that they created from the gang was the person that had the ms tattoo so they started showing the ms-13 person the tattoos on the on the tv just plastering this person's face all over the thing thinking that this person was living right next to you when a lot of times these ms

member

s these tattoos were people that were in prison and el salvador that had never even stepped foot in the united um states but of course there was also violent ms-13

member

s in the united states as uh as well so now when um they continue to plaster the crimes of ms they started putting it in a pedestal then the national geographic came out with the world's biggest and most dangerous gang with the face tattoos as well and kids that wanted to be from um a gang they say wow well we're going to go ahead and join a gang we want to be from the biggest and was being portrayed the worst the the the the baddest gang that's why a lot of times i go ahead and say when i'm asked is ms-13 the world's biggest in the world and most dangerous gangs no and also you need to go and stop um promoting and putting up in a pedestal like that because then you have these kids that do come from broken families that do want to go ahead and giant that end up want to go ahead and do that but in 2003 also there was an informant from ms where there was these other uprisings there was an fbi informant and there was these other uprisings in different um states in the united states and there was no...
connection between them and and california or el salvador it was central american people that were flocking to other country i'm excuse me two different states and now again not all of them got into ms but when these kids did also they feel isolated and didn't have that culture shock how mss started in the 1980s um they started upbringing and said oh yeah so they weren't even getting jumped in or nothing they were just claiming it because they were from el salvador so this um informant from 2003 2004 he the fbi played and paid his plane tickets they were getting 50 to 60 annual salary to go ahead and see what was going on with these other groups so what this guy did he pretty much connected the dots from state to state to state and they commit connected the ultimate dog to el salvador that line and that's how that started to get more organized if you will well by 2011 the task force had made 20 000 arrests by 2012 uh the u.s treasury department froze all the assets uh with anything connected with ms-13 and they actually listed ms-13 as a transnational criminal organization which took it to the next level and then by 2015 el salvador had the highest national homicide rate per capita in the world more people were getting killed in el salvador we're getting murdered in el salvador than any place else on earth yeah horrible uh i mean that's kind of mind-blowing when you think about it there's a lot of countries out there there's a lot of war-torn...
countries out there there's a lot of gangs all over the planet every country has its own gang and so forth but el salvador in particular with ms-13 being the biggest gang in el salvador is contributing to more people getting killed than any place else when you hear that how does that make you feel well it's it it makes me feel it's horrific you know and given that um all that stuff it goes back to to the pain of saying how do we fix this because i re

member

even in l.a seeing those uh murders i mean there was years in l.a where there was uh three four or 500 people a year getting getting killed you know a lot of my own homies and you know enemies as um as well but it goes back to the thing of it it's almost like an everyday thing it's not watching it's watching like the movie great uh groundhog's day over and over and over again and we continue and say the murders the killings the chaos but we don't we need to start talking more and more and put more and more efforts into rehabilitation tactics and giving people opportunities so they won't go ahead and and join a gang but it feels that sometimes we're you know us as a country within the united states we want our hand in different things and we try to go fix something that's already broken and we end up shattering it yeah because of the same continued tactics that we have continued to use and and from generations upon generations in in latin america was ms third where whether it's...
against ms-13 or just different uprisings that are that they feel as a threat or that we feel as a threat from from overcoming or becoming a communist country if you will we're starting to see how is it that we're going to go ahead and fix it a lot of it it's continuing just the same tactics of oppression and oppression and it's the same tactics that we continue to use in our own country right here in the united states of oppression and oppression when it comes into the situation of how do we go ahead and get that guy out of a gang let's go ahead and lock them up let's go ahead and throw the key and when this person goes into prison to try to go ahead and find some form of rehabilitation there is none there is none right so how are you going to go ahead and come out of prison and be a functional

member

of society if you will when we don't we're not focusing on the preventative part we're just focusing on the puny punitive part if you will yeah well eventually ms-13 spread to new york right to long island and there was a series of murders that happened and the weapon of choice was a machete right you know the the district attorney in new york said the crimes you're talking about are brutal the weapon of choice is a machete you end up seeing people with injuries that i've never seen before you know limbs hacked off that's the bodies look like they were recovering um and these were not adults these were like young girls teenage...
girls they were getting chopped up and killed in the forest right uh the guys that were caught would be like 13 14 years old right so it's basically children hacking up children right when you hear about these stories knowing that this is an organization that you were once connected to yourself how does that make you feel it's horrific if you will when you go ahead and hear something like that i actually went um to those high schools where that's thought what that stuff um happened oh really yes then um there was a new york police commissioner that that found out that i was over there doing some um some work through my organization and um they reached out to me and my um my longtime mentor review alex sanchez was part of homie sunil is a

former

ms-13

member

as well and we went to the school and we talked to these kids and we had a healing circle for them and a lot of times the strategy of that right there on how to go ahead and find healing was go ahead to you know a lot of the government officials went in there they got the kids and they deported who they felt and they who they felt was involved a lot of it even consisted of somebody that with a salvadorian background there on facebook they were just showing the pride of the salvadorian um flag but it's horrific when you hear something at that not just in ms 13 but even when you hear these stories in general with other gangs or you hear stories like that that even don't have to do nothing with gangs...
right it's just a human being attacking the human being but to go to even the

history

of the the machete because it's constantly being uh portraying the on the news and the media the

history

of the machete consisted and back in the days and esta even before the civil war started where it's a tool that farmers used right in salvador to get to the florida forest forest so they won't go ahead and scrape their their hands and when the that tool from the machete when the uprising you know the government come and do the farmers didn't have these weapons or guns the way that they knew how to defend to myself what the easiest access to them which was the machete if you will and then the machete and the kids re

member

the machete as um when they were kids in el salvador and when they came over here and the ms

member

s saw that and now you have a gang that's uprising but you don't have the resources yet to go ahead and buy the guns with other gangs already had guns and they went to go ahead and try to attack and for them to defend themselves they re

member

ed how these farmers if you will defend themselves and that's when they got the the use of the of the machete but if you go into the even the more

history

of the machete how it's been used it's been used throughout latin america not just for killing but it's a a famous tool that has been used in our for farming or for the branches or for cutting stuff up that didn't necessarily mean um...
people but even to take it a step further the machete has always been glorified even when jason had it in the in the movie if you will right probably the 13th yeah the 13th if you it was a i mean i was scared when i used to see jason that's a movie this is absolutely this is real life but then it comes into the thing but a lot of times in the movies we have to go ahead and be careful what we go ahead and and what people portray like re

member

when the colors movie came out with the with the gangster image you know people wanted to go ahead and copy that um that image as um as well but absolutely any any killing you know that a kid does with everything i mean it it it hurts you right you know it devastates you just to here's that somebody will actually go ahead and go to that level of attacking somebody with a machete or any type of way if you yeah well from reports ms-13 comprises about one percent of the total gangs in the u.s but the republicans kind of took it upon themselves to really use ms-13 as a tool to try to change laws that they wanted to change right so you know republicans started accused democrats of being responsible for the violence of ms-13 you know and started asking for stricter immigration policies because of ms-13 right right uh they started to argue that sanctuary cities which is places that don't deport people uh was contributing to ms-13 activity right although you know they did studies on this and there's actually no no relation to the...
two uh in fact that in sanctuary cities is actually less crime that they found but it started to go with this whole narrative that trump started to pick up and run when he was actually trying to get elected and then once he became president ms-13 became a top priority of the justice department did you feel that when that started to happen well i re

member

seeing it out and and me you know shaking my head i was all like i can't believe that this is happening over like it's

history

is starting to repeat itself because that's the same stuff that i saw on tv when the ms-13 gang started to die out in los angeles and then the the war on gang started and then now it was being put on a pedestal if you will so it's kind of

history

repeating itself and not only are you are you using that image of ms-13 but like you say is being portrayed to go ahead and say this is how all the immigrants look this is how everybody from salvador looks if we go ahead and um don't stop or we don't build the wall all of these people are going to come and they make you feel like they're going to be in your backyard or right next to you so absolutely like i said it's been a tool to use immigrants um people of color as a scapegoat but this time they were um you know they took it to a whole different level and said you know what we're just gonna go ahead and paint this face as well and say this is the the the immigrant face if you will and then we put the ms-13 tattoos which...
was an actual actual person right yeah i mean in the process you started seeing some very you know some very kind of disturbing things so trump's organization started using this ms-13 uh reason to start locking up kids you know there was a there was an interesting documentary that i watched on pbs there was a kid named junior who was in new york uh in long island right someone accused him of being an ms-13

member

you know when they went through the investigation they found that he had written 503 which is the el salvador area code and his notebook one time they you know he got suspended and they told him you know look just sign this little paper saying you're ms-13 and you can come back to school next year right these are all undocumented immigrants right so no one really wants to go to the police no one really wants to have the law involved they just want to quietly live in the u.s and not get deported so with this with this uh teenage kid here he signed the paper and before he know it he got sent off to a detention center for six months right by himself he tried to kill himself tried to hang himself right so then they stripped him of all his clothes and made him just basically sit naked in his cell then he found some glass and tried to cut cut his arm to bleed to death the aclu came and filed a lawsuit on his behalf and uh one of the california judges actually sided against trump and then they they started reviewing all the charges uh 26 kids were actually had the...
charges dropped and his charges got dropped but this is somebody who was just a good church-going kid right who got hemmed up in the system and this started happening over and over again where kids were getting separated from their families and getting thrown into this pile right of uh of gang

member

s of dangerous people in order to for trump to actually get rid of what he felt was undesirables in this country what what's your take on that well have you heard stories like this i have and i i re

member

reading about that story as um as well kids from central america being you know let's say let's say those kids in that school there was obviously kids that also had that culture class right there and the people that they could relate to um were the salvadoran kids sometimes we have culture clashes between the mexican kids had over here the salvadoran kids down over here the african-americans over here the chicano kids right here so this kid automatically flocked if you will to the salvadorian kids and unfortunately there was ms influence right there and now when you hear kids now saying that i'm from ms um i don't jump to the conclusion that it's this machete wielding ms-13

member

that's just gonna go ahead and hack you away a lot of times it's these kids wanting to get that clout if you will within the school to probably look good to a girl or to go look to their peers and say oh yeah by the way um i'm from ms 13 also and these other kids will...
go then they get that sense of belonging that says self-acceptance another part of a group where they feel that they go ahead and belong and then with this stuff she this kid told a school teacher if you will hey i'm from ms and i'm from ms13 and that's how um that went ahead and happened but i've seen a lot of stories where even when i go through intervention with a kid that's um saying that they're from ms a lot of times i go down to the point of it where i you know talk to him and i said so in reality you're not from ms right and a lot of time no mister you know it's just that it sounds cool and everybody and i'm tired of being bullied at school also i want to be a part of something so if i'm safe i'm from this gang i'll go ahead and do it if i put on my face facebook um page and portray this image of myself people will probably go ahead and leave me alone and these kids don't understand that unfortunately if you go ahead and throw up on the ms sign if you go ahead and start faking the little crit kit that cried woof if you will the feds are gonna go ahead and and take advantage of that or take it serious to a certain extent and you're going to end up being um you know in custody of the same thing that happened to um to junior and then junior was an informant right he he gave up the the are we talking about the same kid i'm not sure okay because there was also another kid that started working with uh with the fbi...
if you will and he started giving intel and he thought he was going to get that rayleigh older deal if you will from like the good fellas where you put up and all this so you're going to get protest trust in the bowl but after they got all the information from from him they turned him over to ins and then he was facing um deportation and recently he's been i believe that he was deported back to um to el salvador so where is the the way out you give information you get turned over to ins because you were born here and and and you still get deported and right there and in salvador then you're probably going to go ahead and get killed and a lot of times not necessarily perhaps from from ms for you being an informant but then you have this elimination squads that if you have any type of ms on your jacket or ms tattoo if you're from it or or not they're going to go ahead and kill you as um as well if you will it's like a kid that goes ahead and gets out of ms um ms right um and he's not from salvador let's say you get out and everything but then ins still doesn't care and comes to get your eyes and you end up getting deported as um as well yeah i mean i've seen some of the documentaries about ms ms-13 guys in other countries that you know the guys that have their face tatted up they're such a target to the police right they literally don't leave their house for years they sit in their house and run their their operations they send...
their guys out to do whatever but they literally cannot leave the house because as soon as they walk outside you know the police or the hit squads will come in and just either kill them or or put them in prison forever yeah and what's happening right now is salvador with the current uh administration right there you know it consists of the same oppression of saying okay we're going to go ahead and kill off these gang

member

s and before you go into the neighborhood and you arrest or you kill the gang

member

and then you know your military group leaves now what they're doing you kill or arrest the gang

member

and the military groups stay so now what they're doing these guys from ms they're being pushed out into the mountains if you will yeah so now you're totally away from civilization if you will and you're on survival mode and if you're on survival mode and you're right there seeing how you're going to go ahead and survive um your mentality from over there to over here if you're all you're thinking about is violence then it's going to be um you know you know without getting any type of mental health for that you know it's gonna be pretty pretty bad if you will well trump when speaking about ms-13 he said these aren't people they're animals this is talking about people like yourself like your friends like your your family

member

s he's calling them animals how does that type of verbage really affect a whole...
group of people well you know being a

former

ms

member

um i believe that that we're all human beings right yeah when you go into the

history

of times and times you know the stuff that that that um that governments or or regimes or whatever has even done to indigenous people of the killing of millions of people right not just uh uh native americans but even when you go into the holocaust if you will that's that yeah that's animalistic behavior if if you if you will um as well but it's again portraying the image and giving somebody a label if you will right so it went from the gangster where we label the gangster a thug right and say this is the thug this is the criminal this is the good for nothing now we're gonna go ahead and put the the the face of the immigrant and not necessarily they were probably talking about ms-13 not just right there but it was a low-key thing to say the immigrant is the animal they want to go ahead and take it to a whole different extent but going through that i believe that nobody is enamored i believe that people are human um human beings it's a lot easier to put an animal in a cage than a human so consider someone an animal you have less qualms to put them in a cage to put them out of their misery however you want to do it because these aren't really people right right they're just animals right we kill animals every day for whatever reason right perfect yeah perfect example right there okay so let's go ahead...
and get into your story so you were born in l.a right which part in koreatown normandy and h street to be specific okay now your mother you said that she had worked 14 hour days in a sweatshop correct uh to support the family where was your father around during this time so i never met my real father but the person that i thought was my father he raised me until the age of three and he was in and out of the picture they have they had their issues within the household and i found that like at 11 years old or 12 years old that he was in my actual dad but he was a great dad when he was when he was in the picture okay where was your real father you know i never i never met him i understand that he's from um from argentina i guess him yeah he was just never in the in the picture your mom never explained the story my mom never explained the story and i re

member

finding out when it was time for me to go ahead and play baseball and you had to show your birth certificate to the little league things and then my the name was in the name of the dad that i thought um was my dad it was the same name of my my my little brother my step um brother his you know my stepdad's name was on the birth certificate but yeah do you think that there was something inside that bothered you that your own father had abandoned you and not wasn't in your life that maybe made you look for a father figure in the streets i there might have been something like that to a certain extent but again the...
father that i had my step that he was a he used to take us to disneyland to magic mountain um to ball games carne asadas okay give me he he was there so you had a father figure yeah i he i had a father um figure for for sure and i think when i started going into the streets is i took my mom's love for unconditional love and i took advantage and i took that as as as like mandatory if he was a type of way or for granted and it was more me being curious and there was a time also where i used to even get bullied by the ms

member

s as um as well so it was kind of trying to find my own identity and try to gain that respect power and pride if you will so at 13 you're walking down the street and an ms-13

member

put a gun in your face right and robbed you right that was the first time something like that had happened specifically i will go ahead and and probably say yeah something like that to me but me seeing it as a as a kid you know even younger than that i re

member

hearing the gunshots and even seeing the shootings as a kid or people getting shot at okay so you have a gun pointed at you right they take anything from you yeah they took a a michigan jacket that my mom had bought me i guess they liked the m in the back yeah that was a time where people wearing like the hoyas michigan things so you get robbed at gunpoint and you basically have to wake up the next day and go back in this neighborhood where the kid that robbed you is still probably moving around somewhere right...
so now you're you're feeling a sense of danger i assume right no absolutely it it was just going from point a to point b just to even go to um to the school i would have to jump over neighbors fancied so i won't go ahead and see um gang

member

s or when i got to the point where i couldn't go to the local fast food place because there was um gang presence right there but as soon as i left that neighborhood and went to another one there was another gang over there and then another gang over there and then another gang over there so i was kind of walking between the lines everywhere where you turn there was some type of gang violence i just happened to have lived right there in the ms neighborhood what were the other gangs around there outside of ms well you have different gangs such as um drifters ali boys aslan mid-city playboys okay these were all chicano gangs these were all chicano gangs right so in your neighborhood you started to see the ms-13 guys being celebrated i guess there was a a guy in the neighborhood that everyone really looked up to right what was his name nelson nelson so you're seeing this and you're getting affected by this type of praise and and stature so you actually decided to join ms-13 yourself right these were the normandy locos right well i initially went into uh there was a click call 711 and then i got into the normandies okay uh you were jumped in correct 13 seconds yes it was 13 seconds right okay how about did you get hurt...
you know what it it it wasn't um i seen beat downs from from jumpings and i'm always all like man yeah guy really got it bad but i seen other jumpings was all like um okay and i seen other jumpings where you know before the jump in this friend talks to this friend and says that you better count faster how you got me you got me so so it's different things in that nature and my jump in was 13 um sevens but it wasn't something while i was laying in a puddle in the in the floor i think it was two or three guys that um that jumped me and a couple of more of my friends um a couple more my friends in and the reason during that time it was like the tag banging days where uh you know different taggers or people were starting to to join to join gangs if you will and me and my other friends said you know what let's just go and we're going to join a gang let's just go ahead and join um ms the one that's the biggest and most dangerous if you will and that's what happened you were 14 years old at the time 14. so your street name became clever right why that name you know i get asked that a lot because i chose the name and then i got into the gang and i kept getting arrested and re

member

the people in there why they call you clever clever what happened and i was like i don't know even the the other uh gang

member

s why why are they calling you clever and the reason that i came up with that name was because right before i joined the the gang the night...
before you're thinking about okay what's gonna be your name or they're gonna go ahead and um and give you your names and if you're from ms i mean the

history

of the ms stuff i mean there's guys that have been named you know chancleta or palo de coco i mean they're so so it's amazing and i don't want to be called flock or smokey because everybody has that name already if you're here on largo and i went to a unique name now for some reason they just i was writing stuff down and i was like okay i'll just go ahead and put clever because nobody else has that name so i wanted to go ahead and be unique and the reason that i chose that name clever was because i knew that i was gonna get arrested i knew that i was gonna go ahead and go to juvenile hall so when i and in juvenile hall you got your your respect and you got your rep by fighting so in there i didn't and there's different clicks from ms so i didn't want to be confused with somebody else's name or that person taking my my credibility that i just fought this gang

member

if you will okay and your mother is salvadorian no so my mom is from mexico from michoacan aha and your dad's argentina and my dad's argentina so you're not salvadorian at all no i'm not celebrating and the father that raised me was colombian and if you want to mix it up even more i was born and raised in korea town when you have there's different cultures of korean japanese asian...
hondurans and you know all sorts of places from latin america okay so ms-13 doesn't restrict its

member

ship to salvadorians you know in the beginning it was it was predominantly an ms group and the reason they started joining ms because there was other gangs that didn't like the liking that they were from salvador you know they weren't accepted because of that but as time went on i was like the end of the first generation kind of the beginning of the second generation where i was one of the few that started to get ms-13 within with the with the chicano background if you will okay so now you're officially ms-13 right so you have the you know the protection of your homies right but now you have all the other gangs right right you can't just turn around you know when they ask where you're from you can't just say nowhere right now you have to say i'm ms-13 absolutely and if your enemies with that particular other gang then it's on site right right absolutely you know perfectly explained and the problem with that with me was as soon as we got in we're like okay now i re

member

getting into ms and being jumped in and when i re

member

being jumped in all i could think about because there was a carnival that came to the neighborhood in artmore park it's called like seoul international park or something and they came every three months and as i got taller in ms you know i started getting raw for my stuff it was

full

of ms

member

s now me and my...
friends that we used to play baseball with they couldn't go to this cardinal and carnival anymore and we used to hide that we couldn't go so now i re

member

watching from my grandma's house everybody having fun on the ferris wheel and everything like that me just watching from the window so now when i got into ms now i'm able to go to this carnival now i'm able to go to this fast food if i want to go to school it's point a to point b but a week later a couple weeks later i started to regret my decision because re

member

how i'm telling you that i walked through other neighborhoods as well there was other gangs and every time when they stopped me they asked me where i was from and i said nowhere right so they gave me that free pass if you will but now they have found out that me and these couple of friends that were a little bit known within other neighborhoods because of kids walking around they found out that we were from the gang so now we friended ms-13 but we um enemied if you will everybody else around us so now we couldn't leave the neighborhood now we have to stay right there confined to this certain neighborhood yeah was 18th street an enemy of ms-13 by this time yes okay so now and that was considered your main rivals correct were you running into 18th street during this time well there was eight there was times where um cars were rolled up it was from different gangs if you will it was that um that machismo if you will versus the that...
machismo of whose gang is tougher so you bump into them a lot of most of the times when i bumped into 18th street

member

s consisted in juvenile camps or juvenile facilities or or cya camps i re

member

them always being one of the deepest gangs it was always like seven to one or something you know the ratio of 18th street versus um versus ms well how much violence happened in that first year i would go ahead and say there was um there was a lot of violence you know but to me it was something nothing diff well it was different in a sense because now you're the ms-13

member

and you're experiencing it directly but me growing up in la growing up there since i could re

member

um there was guns drugs there was violence there were shootings there was um killings i re

member

being six years old one time and there was ms

member

s trying to take over the territory of another gang right there and there was guys that were dressed in heavy metal with the with the long hair the metallica days if you would then they did have the machete if you will and started um hacking away at the at the rival gang

member

there as well and late at night i could i could re

member

hearing the gunshots and when i was trying to do my homework the ghetto board just circling around circling around so violence within my neighborhood to me wasn't um wasn't rare it was almost it became um rare in the it was new to me at the beginning when i understood what violence but then it almost became just like...
another day at the office you would always just have to look around and watch for your back right but now you're expected to commit the violence right uh were you involved in shootings no never never were you shot at i was shot probably about 15 or 20 times were you hit no i was never um i was never hit i re

member

one specific time when i was being shot i was drunk and high and um i was going i was going home and there was a car from probably from sidewalk you know on this side of the sidewalk and i was on the other side of the sidewalk and it was late and it was probably one two in the morning and they passed by and they were like hey homie you're slanging and you're slaying that as soon as i saw that it was a bunch of gang

member

s with within the car i knew that the thing was was for me to approach the car and for me to shoot me right and i just you know i was walking around i was like no i'm not and i re

member

the guy going outside of of his car window and pulling the gun out and i re

member

seeing the fire come out of the gun before i heard the the sound so i ducked and i started jumping fences you know i'm back then you know me i re

member

being shot at you you start being able to climb all kinds of stuff that you think you didn't climb you're on survivable if it has barbed wires or not and i'm jumping and i'm falling and i'm bleeding area i'm falling into trash cans and i'm running this guy's you know dumping right...
behind me and then i try to get away you know i get away and then he gets back in the car and they circle they circle and then um i'm seeing the car just passing by like this and every time it circles i run a block and i run a block and i live i i live like three blocks down and i finally make it home and when i make it home i see my mother and my grandma with candles right there praying right and and that's when and they were like did you hear those gunshots you know and me not wanting to go ahead and work i'm like no you know and that became you know our norm as well well you started getting tatted up i did with your gang mm-hmm uh where was the tax going initially um i would say the first one that i got was in my it was in my elbow it was an ms right there and i believe i got that one when i was in in a juvenile facility i think in the california youth authority well you got locked up at 15 you went to juvenile right at 15. what did you get locked up for it was i believe it was for a drug charge and an assault okay so you started dealing drugs as well well we were used we were we were under the influence of drugs and we had we had um some drugs in our in our pocket that we were using to get high of but with the dealing with the dealing i never really dealt um you hear these gangster stories you see these scarface stories of the amounts of kilos and kilos and the pounds of cocaine but i re

member

most of the people that i saw they were selling nickels and dimes...
in the in the drug corner right and when i was selling nickels and dimes in that same um drug corner i think i re

member

making the most in a day probably in a night probably about three to four hundred um bucks if you will but it wasn't i wasn't i wasn't making 300 or 400 bucks consistently it was okay i'll work this night and yeah two three days later i go that way so if i probably worked in a fast food joint and getting minimum wage if you go ahead and put all the frags and stuff like that i might have been making more money doing that okay so then you get laptop you go to juve now right but you're not just a regular uh you know a kid from the suburbs who gets in trouble no you're ms-13 right and then you got 18th street right and then you got whatever other gangs have problems with ms-13 right how deep was ms-13 uh in juvenile at that time you know there was some in the streets it seemed it seemed like there was a lot deeper but then you had um generations upon generations of gangs that it felt like a lot of times we were outnumbered it felt that every time it was a couple two or three of us the most i was with ms-13

member

s in a pod or in a juvenile camp i think it was five that was the maximum but not a lot of people not not a lot of guys were the minorities we were definitely the the minorities right right um right there and not only that not only was i from ms if you will but i was a mexican with an ms so somehow they even took that as a as more...
of a of a disrespect if you will so you're i mean and you're getting locked up and and you know i'm not gonna lie you know it's a it's a new

experience

to me i'm getting locked up i mean you're like damn how is this gonna go you're scared if you will you know um now you start re

member

ing what your mom and your grandma was was telling you if you will but then you have to go ahead and prove yourself and then one fight led to another and then another and then another where you just started fighting and fighting trying to get your respect like that so how much time did you spend a juvenile that one time they got this six months okay you didn't tell anybody right so you come out and now you're you got your stripes you did your time in juvie you didn't snitch on anybody now your status is raised in the gang when you come back home so now you're even you're a bigger gangster now right how did that feel to come back to the neighborhood after doing some time it's almost like i came from a long vacation and everybody was just so happy to see you and i re

member

walking down the street it was um the best way that i could explain is that sick comfort from cheers where everybody knows your name and they're always glad you came i felt that aura within you when you have 10 15 20 people you you know you know kind of plotting you're pulling out the red carpet even the ladies even the people from the neighborhood that knew you...
before you were from from a gang and then your little brother walking around with you and you know this kid's just looking up to you and then every and then the girls if you will as well you know like the homegirls hey what's up clever and it was just a uh unnatural high if you will like you came back and you're being applauded and recognized for what you did well you said you're actually ready to die to protect your neighborhood right you know it's kind of ironic because i assume your mom was probably renting her house an apartment an apartment an apartment so you're you're willing to die to protect a neighborhood that you don't even own right you're just renting land that you have no ownership or claim to but you're willing to give up your own life for this rented piece of land right does it seem a little crazy now that you think about it absolutely it's definitely crazy it makes it makes no sense and at the time right there when i was trying to search look for an identity or you know being um in that camaraderie if you were with your other friends you know back then it made a lot of sense for us unfortunately yeah because that's pretty much i want to say all we knew because i never had that lifestyle where you hear these horrific stories where you know kids were beating or being abused you know when when they were younger i don't think my mom ever ever um hit me it's just me taking all that stuff for for granted but...
the the stuff about just me being caught up in that cycle of violence and me not wanting to be the victim anymore but more of the perpetrator if you will i started to look beyond that stuff but no you could bring a great point it makes makes a lot of sense uh it doesn't make sense now you know what was the most violent thing that you were involved in i believe it was um it was fights with me you know i was never much of a of a gun person or anything like that i was kind of more of of fighting you know gangs will will fight we will fight in parks with weapons or just with a fist a lot of times it would be with uh with fists if you will somebody would probably bring uh a a baseball bat a cane people would bring bottles whatever they could go ahead and um and bring but i don't re

member

people bringing um guns maybe probably people to break up the five shot a gun up in the up in the air but i was really known for fighting within the juvenile um the juvenile facilities and i guess because i was so used to that that's kind of what i brought to the street as um as well well you were not getting uh shot but your friends were getting killed right well i was getting shot at but but you you weren't actually getting hit big bullets but your friends weren't as lucky right so now as a teenager you're going to funerals right your friend you're losing your friends and these are your homies these are the guys your brothers right you're in the same gang and you...
know you're going through this trauma as a young as a young man right going through all this and i guess at 16 you were thinking about leaving the gang but you described it as it's like telling a catholic to stop being a catholic right yeah you started taking the moral inventory of your life at that time and it was 16 but it felt like you were 20 something or 30 something because nobody was living to live past the age of 18. and i was already starting to reach that age and i was like man am i even going gonna go ahead and make it to 18 people were living day by day and i re

member

going to these funerals and me and a homie going and saying man you know my home you know you put the the rest in peace you put the homie in the shirt and then you're like man i hope it's not me next time and a lot of times it was that person that was next it was that person in the coffin and i re

member

all i re

member

a specific story where a mom was trying to wake up his son in the coffin trying to wake up a son i re

member

another ordeal where he was being another guy was being laid to rest and the mom um she was being held back because she she had to um she was trying to jump into the hole with him sad so you had a friend uh named alex sanchez right and uh he was the ms-13 guy himself correct and he approached you because he wanted to start a gang intervention group right how old were you at the time i think i must have been like 21 early 20 or 21 earlier okay so you've been...
banging for like seven yeah about seven eight you've been banging for like seven or eight years right what was it about alex that convinced you to to go through this whole system well i re

member

seeing alex you know alex was one of the persons that i used to always look up through the window and you know that i felt that he had that respect power and pride as well when i was a kid before i even joined i re

member

being a kid and seeing alex in these carnivals and he was um everybody was just around him everybody wanted to be like him when he was in the gang if you will and then when i got um when he approached me you know he was he had this level of respect within the gang as well so it right there it kind of clicked like man is this guy is saying not to do it you know that it's not worth it and i'm seeing how comfortably he's doing this and nobody's messing with him because he's doing this stuff to go ahead and leave the lifestyle maybe i'll go ahead and and and give it a chance but the first initial was was you know i was already used to this stuff to being from the gang so the first initial was i was already in this addiction lifestyle well my whole world consisted of just going over in my head ms ms ms and i'm gonna go ahead and and try to fight or be the enemy of anybody else but you know i eventually went to the to the group so joining this group which was now this is uh homies you need us right the early incarnation of it right does that...
mean that you had to leave ms-13 i think during the time it it didn't it wasn't necessarily about that it was more of stopping violence and drugs and trying to be uh a person that doesn't commit those crimes as well so if you tell somebody initially you know go ahead and leave ms 13 you have to go ahead and show them what is the opportunity ahead you have to bring him within the circle if you will for him to go ahead and leave so it was kind of him putting people and talking about homosexuals and then just going then if you wanted to go ahead and leave the gang afterwards then you definitely had that choice i mean in ms13 are you allowed to leave is it blood in blood out like the the mexican mafia or can you just say hey i don't want to do this anymore and everyone just wishes you well i think when you talk about amsterdam you talk about the demographics of el salvador then the east coast then the demographics in in in california but when you get onto him i mean i definitely didn't put in a two-week notice or anything like that until people hey you know i kind of faded away somewhere like if it was a a a bad relationship if you when you're breaking up with a girl whatever or you know vice versa and you know they're they're hitting you up and you start answering those calls if they're going to be there or i'm going to go ahead and be over here and you would think it was ms-13 you know it's a lot more difficult to go ahead and um and...
do that but as soon as we started going to the neighborhood i think us as we started hearing you know expressing ourselves without using drugs and violence and seeing the opportunity that the homicidals had i think each other we started egging each other on instead of saying hey let's go over here beat this person up or beat this person up probably let's not go ahead and um and do that but you could definitely fade away from the gang and not just ms-13 i mean i think there was a study done something i think it was 70 000. it might have been 700 000 that i saw a study from the university of boulder that that's the amount of people that are leaving gangs each year okay so now you're part of homies unidos right and you feel like you're no longer gang-banging but the police see it otherwise right and you're sort of in the middle of the whole rampart police district right which ultimately ended up being the most corrupt police force in america right and uh you start getting pulled over on your way to meetings uh you start getting beat up by the police correct it was the same officers that was um stopping us and frisking us when we were from ms and believe me we definitely weren't no um no angels but if for some reason they probably believed that we couldn't change or we didn't have that opportunity or doing the corrupt ways they would just continue to use the the strategy and the strategy there was no strategy of saying okay now this guy's...
not from ms these people are not from ms how do you deal with them we were still being dealt as um as that and then they took a very disliking to homies because now we had the backing of senator tom um tom hayden and we used to you know tell him the stuff that was going on on the streets and we started organizing with him against police brutality so there was a time in the neighborhood where the police stopped you they asked you are you from ms-13 or are you from homies needles and people will raise their hands okay from homies okay you're going to jail who's from ms13 other people start raising their hands okay you guys should go ahead and leave well you guys actually end up suing right the police department correct and uh they settled for six figures can you say how much well me it was it was six figures that consisted of uh between a certain amount of people but what i ended up getting was just it was a few thousand okay right it was it wasn't more than five thousand or nothing okay so you didn't really make nothing yeah so then you decided to move to colorado in 2002 correct and the reason that i moved to colorado was because the the when the rapper crashed were would go ahead and um and uh and see me in the neighborhood they would go ahead and say um hey clever like what's up this media attention is gonna die they will say hold me this videotape's gonna die homie we're gonna come after you and that's exactly what what what what happened...
because in the median teacher i re

member

walking down the street with the likes of geraldo rivera and i'm talking to him about police brutality when it consisted of of time magazine there was this lady from time magazine that came take pictures and she's like man there's no police brutality i'm like yeah because you're a white lady with a camera they're not gonna stop go inside the liquor store and as soon as the cops pat they're gonna come right now so she went inside the liquor store and sure enough the cops came and they put us all against the wall and then she made um she came out you know like blazer glory just taking pictures taking pictures of the cops we're gonna take your camera you're not gonna take my camera away and then um i'm like this and i told her okay that's enough and then she stopped and she left and the cops looked at me damn clary you got some pool who was that and then a couple of days later they were on the on the time magazine and they said ganks the cops with an and the end they said homie somebody was one lapd 0. so it was almost like a score keeping thing if you will so it became a war with the cops it it it became us fighting for our civil rights yeah um and exposing the stuff that has been going in the communities for generations upon generations that people didn't believe was exposing a big exposure that that that started people to believe stuff is what happened during the the rodney king when he...
was um brutally beat by the sheriff's department if you will so it was kind of exposing the same stuff that i saw growing up and just putting it out there and to the media okay so basically since you're a target of the police you decide to move to colorado correct okay this was 2002 right was there an ms-13 presence in colorado during that time i i believe i believe not because you know we moved to first we moved to aurora and we moved to denver and our main thing wasn't to look what gangs were around there our main thing was how did we get away from this police brutality my son was about um two years old what is the best life that i could go ahead and get from my son and should i go to college or should i go ahead and get a job and where am i gonna live at okay so you end up getting an associate's degree in criminal justice correct in 2004 right you you had a wife right and you had two kids right at a certain point you guys lived in an apartment she worked in a preschool and you were a bouncer in a club yeah so i worked part-time as a bouncer and i also worked as a youth counselor in a mental health institution and in a juvenile halfway house got it so here you have this whole new life right you got a family you don't have cops you know frisking you down you're not getting shot at you you start a whole new life uh but an ms-13 presence was in colorado during that time and police started a whole investigation around that i guess around 2009 uh...
prosecutors said they actually squashed the ms-13 presence in colorado and there was a three-year investigation and you got arrested right on drug and conspiracy charges correct they claimed that you were an ms-13 leader and a shock collar in fact they said that you went out to colorado specifically to start a whole new faction a whole new effect of ms-13 how did it feel to to move away from l.a and all the craziness to a whole new place start a whole new life and next thing you know boom because you actually from the time that you were arrested from juvenile you had never been arrested as an adult correct up to that point so you you were clean right and then boom now you're back in a jail cell again right right and to go to the to you know of how how that went you know specifically down as as well to add to that was when i moved to colorado the they said that there was an ms president there was an ms presence first a friend over that was a

former

ms

member

um he asked me if i wanted to go ahead and move over because i told him about the police brutality i went there and then other people started going to go there five or six seven people and these people were were people that were going over to go ahead and get their jobs there was no drug dealing or drug trafficking if you will right but i believe that they said that the investigation started i believe they said 2009 or it might have started in 2006 and a lot of that stuff is to eliminate that i was there from 2002 so...
that's seven years and there is no ms uh the ms-13 pressure that they're talking about allegedly is about six or seven um people if you will so there is no presence but the reason that they said that we were there in 2009 was to eliminate those other seven years where i was pretty much just working yeah and the way that it happened was that and for lap the officer was the one that followed me to colorado and they didn't let the the the courts know that if you will so i believe that my investigation had started by the fbi already when i was already walking down the street with the likes of harald rivera or coming out in the media as well but to answer your question of how that fell i woke up the well i was i woke up the next day in the in the federal facility and i was all over the news in the newspaper and i was like the ms 13 leader and i mean that's the high that's the stuff that you that i wanted when i was 6 15 16 years old right now i got my family on 31 like whoa what are you talking about this has to be a mistake and not only that but people in the facility started running with it like the ceos or the other inmates wow the leader of ms when you went to court you were like extra security and when i went to court i was like okay this has to be a mistake they're gonna let me out right now and it didn't happen like that well your phone lines were actually tapped right and uh there was a call between you and a guy named enrique la calo and uh in...
the phone call he said that there was going to be a hit against somebody in los angeles uh likaio was recently released uh from a california prison and i guess he was telling you on the phone that ms-13 and mexican mafia leaders in pelican bay had ordered a hit on somebody in the conversation you said uh you know this phone could be tapped and uh let's just put a delay on the hit so you can go to la and talk about it which in their eyes is well here you are talking about a murder a potential murder um but in your eyes you saw it a little bit differently so can you talk about that whole situation well there was a lot of wiretap calls that also were um misinterpreted if you if you will it was a conversation where somebody called me from the juvenile facility and he told me what he had heard from somebody right and i said okay you know me doing having an

experience

in gang intervention well perhaps i could go ahead and go to la to go ahead and try to stop this hit from um from taking place now do i have the palada or the authority to stop a hit from the mexican mafia absolutely not did you know the guy that was supposed to get hit yeah okay so i was he a friend of yours yes okay so i knew so i didn't knew him you know i talked to some certain people in um in l.a and they talk to their people right and that's what i lose the the paper trail of that and eventually you know there's there's you know there's rumors that it was just a rumor that it wasn't...
going to go ahead and happen anyways and there's rumors that it just didn't happen you know somebody doesn't send you like a letter and says okay you know what he's good he's going to be off if that doesn't happen it doesn't happen so even that conversation right there but they those are the wiretap conversations that they manipulate in my bond hearing if you will portraying that that conversation consisted of me saying okay i'm gonna go to la and carry the hit myself and that's what they used in the grand jury to go ahead and um indict me as um as well and there was dozens of calls like this because every 30 days the fbi needs a certain call that consists of drug trafficking or that you're committing a crime in order for your wiretap for the wiretap on your phone if you will so the investigator the

former

lapd officer that moved to colorado to investigate me he will make these calls to see me as the aggressor and there was this other call where i would tell friends hey let's have a carnassada come bring how many god how many pounds should we buy buy like 10 pounds of garam masala and bring it to my house and we're going to go ahead and have a cooker so apparently those 10 pounds met uh keys and we were going to go ahead and do that there was another one where there was this restaurant and it's a vietnamese restaurant and i tell one of my friends hey where you going to go ahead and eat at and that consisted of uh let's...
go to this restaurant uh the vietnamese restaurant and i said nah you know what you know the the the waiter he's always messing up my older man let's go somewhere else so there was still no drug trafficking so he needs this call again to continue to wire to my phone so he interpreted that the waiter was my connect and i did not like the quality of the of the food if you will and let's go somewhere else and just to finish there there was another call where where i did work at the nightclub there was a friends you know we had some beers we went back home and um we were having some beers right there and and he ended up getting my phone that um that night he ended up getting my phone down he started going down my list of the people from from the club and he started calling them and asking them actually for drugs right he wanted to get high and then the next day the people went ahead and called me the next day and complaining hey man there's all these so-and-so called me for drugs and why is he doing that i had to apologize to certain people and when i was locked up and reading these wiretaps the feds forgot to erase those calls because they erased when he was making the calls now why did they erase when he was making the calls because i found this kingpin awash with drugs and we're in my house why does he need to go somewhere else to look for dope so that would that went ahead and stopped the investigation but it was it was um it was wiretap calls in that...
nature where they were being manipulated against my advantage to go ahead and use against me continuing the wire taps well uh lacaio along with talking about this potential hit on on this guy you knew he also talked about how he sliced uh cereno's throat with a razor in prison well it wasn't that that one right there it wasn't a sudan i believe it was a person from uh another gang and i believe that he had just came out the shoe and i asked him why were you in the shoe and he was telling me this uh this story that that he did during the times where people are in the facility and they're around all this violence your conversations are gonna go i miss my mom i miss my dad i miss my kids oh and by the way this is the violence that's going on here this is the means that the the survival mode unfortunately that's going on still fairly reckless to talk like this over the phone well in a sense absolutely but again i wasn't it was the person where i answered the phone call and they're telling me this information if you will and him the only reason that i went ahead and answered some type of phone call like that was because it was a childhood friend that i grew up with but for me to go ahead and and say that you know we were talking like this and we were plotting killings and we were prodding hits it's totally uh you know false i guess there was another part of these uh tape phone calls where i guess you spoke about attacking a man who's...
supposed to be an informant and you said they need to send this guy to hell because he doesn't belong to the two letters two letters being ms right again that phone call right there was also taken out of um propulsion as well and they didn't go down like that i've looked for that wiretap call as um as well and i believe the the the liking of that didn't consist of me saying stuff like that it's something that i went ahead and heard okay so i was almost like the third person saying the the thing of a story that i heard well with all these wiretaps and all these investigations you were facing 48 years 48 years yeah and you were how old i was 31 i believe okay so you're basically looking potentially dying in prison right with a sentence like that while you're in prison your wife divorces you because she assumed you're never getting out right and she gets engaged to another man right was that the worst part i think that was the numbing part of it where i i already knew i did you're expecting the worst of that stuff and i re

member

her visiting me and after that year it did look like i was going to go ahead and get that like there was just so much corruption within the case that it did look like that and you know i told you you know do whatever is best for you and the kids and you know i cannot blame her because there was times when the feds in order to get you first you know try to break you down they'd want to go ahead and break down...
whatever your support system is and she was my support system right there my kids were the support system if you um if you will so what they started doing they started um stopping her for no reason giving her these tickets when she would go home in the apartment that we lived in they would go ahead and call the manager saying she was with this ms-13 leader she will come back and her her furniture was and my kids toys and all the beddings was outside of the apartment so it was times where i told her you know what you have to do what's best for you and and and the kids you know i got me i'll go ahead and fight my case right here and after a year it was um she didn't visit or anything like that and i think that was the best because even the to the conversations of the calls i didn't want them to go ahead and twist my words either in a sense where they they're twisting my words to try to get some more evidence like that so yeah i did get out and she was engaged to somebody else yeah that's tough yeah and you know you get out and and as long as my kids are good you know she's good i'm not going to go ahead and any remorse over that stuff it it um it is what it is well you spent two years fighting this case right locked up the whole time yeah i guess you tattooed uh the united states versus uh

gerardo

lopez

on the back of your head right you still have that tattoo i do yeah well you've grown your hair well you know you can't see it anymore...
you know when i was getting that tattoo i was like you know maybe i'll go ahead you know you know just faded up so i did it kind of yeah like that but when i got that tattoo i looked at the indictment and when i looked at the indictment it it says united states of america it's the first time and i was like what i'm like oh we're first of all from the united states of america how are you going against me now you have a whole united states of america you have all these resources and and also and that's why i got it and also when i used to go to court they would just bring up ms-13 political stuff from um from other united states saying that out you know and i was like what does that have to do with me so let's not let's stop talking about the ms stuff what is the charges that you actually have um have on me and as time went on it there was none well you were actually offered a four-year plea deal right and your own lawyer told you to take it because with two years time served good behavior you would have gotten out in a couple months i would i was already down two i would've been a halfway house and probably about a few months after that and your own lawyer was telling you to take this right because you're facing 48 years right and you actually turn it down right because you felt you were 100 innocent absolutely and then out of nowhere they just dismiss all the all the charges yeah let me tell you how that went down well when you're...
federally in dieted you know the feds have like a 99.99.8 conviction rate and you would think that these are convictions that the convictions that the convictions that go to um that go to trial these are deals these are all plea deals and that's why that's so high and the reason that people don't want to take it to the box to you know to trial is because the sentencing guidelines are too high you either get 10 years or you lose in trial and get those 48 right they hit you and you have the the the gang's things you know ms-13 if you will you know they're trying to deem you as an ms 13 gang

member

again they try to hit you with the with the high end now i would have thought that my attorney my first attorney would have represented me accurate and got the case this um dismissed but her his main thing without looking at the case was go ahead and take that uh plea deal you know so i have a little bit of a criminal justice background you know with my degree but nothing in the sense that would be able to represent you in court so i started going to the law library in the feds i started going to la library and studying my case for you know eight hour days ten hour days then i was in the feds and i got into a a fight in there that was self-defense and they sent me to the hole and then it sent me to um to the court within their um to go ahead and uh and fight the the defense charge everyone they shot me to a accounting jail jefferson county jail in colorado and i...
believe that a lot of that consisted was because my attorney was probably sharing information with the u.s attorney they're like this guy's probably breaking the case now why would your attorney do that because in the federal in the federal sentencing guidelines the attorneys want to go ahead and have a good relationship with the prosecution for future bargaining deals they don't want to climb up that mountain of studying hundreds of thousands of wiretaps or you had a court appointed attorney i had a well it was a quite important attorney but it was a pro bono from a private attorney because every certain year they have to do these pro bono but that's still very different than having a hundred thousand dollars that you're a top-notch lawyer to that is going to basically tear the prosecution apart yeah this is the guy now i've seen the difference right pro bono or not it's very different than than the guys that spend half a million dollars defending themselves right absolutely so you know so there i am and i started to write my own um court motions because you know i started bringing out the all the evidence that they were having against me in the grand jury that consisted of them flipping my words around and making me seem like i was dealing dope on all the lies that they said to the grand jury to get me and died so i started doing this then i started shooting it to my attorney and he didn't want to present it in court so i ended up trying to...
fire him and the the judge didn't let me fire him so he excused himself from the case and then i get a second attorney who sees like man head out though this is so much so uh so much corruption there is that guy from the lapd did follow you from la to over here is retaliation for you coming out in the media and exposing the rampart crash um the rapper crash scandal that's what it is and um so that goes on and i'm just in in my room just studying law and eventually i started writing my own commotions and representing myself in court and that's when my attorney came that he was still on the case when i was going pro se and he told me okay hello you know they offered you these 48 months and at that time i'm telling you man guilty or not you want to take it you want to take it because it's 48 months or 48 years guilty or not he's like you got until 12 o'clock today to call my office and take this deal so i go back to my jail cell man and by this time you know what i'm not saying that i was this tough guy within the jail cells saying you know i broke down a lot of times you know mentally physically you know emotionally i knew that i probably wasn't ever going to go and see you know my kids or be able to come out but it was almost like a like a rocky balboa fighter i re

member

me watching rocky all the time you know these movies were he got knocked down like 30 times and he ended up getting um up in the end and winning so i was looking at the...
phone to go ahead and call him and um and you know it was 12 o'clock it passed by and i kind of knocked on the door so the seo could let me out but not very lightly and purposely and then the time passed and i was like man now i really gotta go now really gotta go ahead and and um and fight this and then he came the next day and he's like you didn't call my office and i was all like no i didn't and he was all like well now um day are they say that they're going to go ahead and extend it till today to 12 o'clock you got it i'm like man this is like a damn game show door number one go number two don't over throw it what do you got bob you know so i was like man and i was like man i got them and like we're gonna go to the motions here right because they wanted a conviction they wanted to convince me because they was portrayed on the news and my attorney knew they wanted that conviction and a lot of times they want to go and my my own attorney told me you know what i got to take the deal i was like no there's some more evidence here he was like no they're going to come after me i'm like dude you're my attorney you're supposed to go ahead and represent me to due process of law adequate counsel so we go to the trial the motion serves to a trial and he doesn't put the government on the stand and this is the motion to dismiss the case this is the motion to dismiss the wiretap um all kinds of different motions he did he...
doesn't put the government on the stand and the judge denied almost every motion but ironic but it was weird that he didn't deny the motion to dismiss which was the biggest one and then i go back to my jail cell and i was like why didn't you put the government on the stand he told me because they already got caught lying they could go ahead and lose their um their jobs if you will and that's when i started writing more emotions and two weeks later they opened up that um that cell door to do that and they let me free and then i i signed as i start re

member

ing of how that went down the reason that that judge started denying all the emotions is for people not to oh it could be also one for people not to be that that tapping something similar to it for them not to be able to use my case law as well and you know thousands of people would have been free i mean this this this court thing had all kinds of different set of precedent spaces oh man it had all kinds of different things that people doing you know life sentences for something that they didn't do they could go ahead and use and it was also to try to go ahead and block my uh my civil suit as um as well so you know so so i get out and then i'm trying to look for an attorney to get the civil suit and everybody told me the same thing all the same attorneys look we could sue the the cops but i'm not going after the feds because then they're going to go ahead and come after us or i'm having...
this case and i i don't want to piss off the feds for this client over here so a lot of times i was black ball within having the suit and then eventually i did get an attorney and he filed like a one-page you know i mean it was cool that he had the courage to um to to file something but it was like a one-pager and the government came back with like a 30 or 40 page rebuttal all the attorneys and the fbi agents the government appoints them an attorney then they had um attorneys of their own as um as well yeah so you walk out of that jail cell you're no longer married right are your kids still in the area or they moved away i i have no clue i haven't had contact with them for like for like a year my friend picked me up um oh and before hold on before i left um i was like all right i'm free you know i'm getting out they didn't take me to court the judge signed they didn't have the audacity you know the decency to take me to court and apologize you know it's almost like you want the super bowl and there was nobody there to go ahead and see that yeah right so they try to close it off so they they they signed the paper to release me the ceo came ahead out of your clay your case is over the denver post it got dismissed i get out i have my you know whatever um legal documents that i walk out and and people right there whether they like you not everybody just starts cheering right everybody starts cheering i get out and before i'm getting out the ceo...
tells me oh hello we have a problem i'm like what's up he's all like there's this ticket of like 500 dollars that is holding you back like really you guys will do it 48 years and i was on fight i was a lawyer a jailhouse lawyer more and i was like the reason that i wasn't able to pay that ticket was because i've been locked up and it accumulated to 500 so i called my friend right here over here sitting down out here next to me and he went ahead and and uh he paid the ticket for me yeah you know and you know i get out and he was the one that that um told me i was like hey take me to my my mom's house i'm choosing to my my wife's house i will see my kids and she's all like hey man um you haven't heard it like what's up yeah she's engaged with somebody else you're going to come up you're going to come and live with me you know i got you know an extra room and i was like man you know and everything's going through through through your head is this real is this really happening you know i just beat this case and you know you're going through all that and i was like all right well let's you know let's go and then it it consisted of me being um you know coming out and you know even the pt is the from that event i just started seeing cars following us behind us me going to the the the place where i started looking up at the scenes thinking that everything's just um wire tapped if you will i re

member

my...
friends come out you know friends that you know they don't gang man they're like oh you know people still copy by their nicknames where are you from the game like claire's out okay man we're going to have a car and assault i'm going to bring 20 pounds of car in asap and they consistently you know we wait for the dodgers to to go to uh to coor sphere field plays the rockies and everyone they were trying to take it from friends time to time to rocky's games hey we got four tickets you want to come with us like what do you mean by tickets now we're gonna go sit in this aisle we're gonna have fun so i'm going through specifics after a time my phone never ranked out like this fool's tripping we ain't gonna go ahead and call him well uh your friend alex sanchez the one that actually convinced you to leave the gang uh he ultimately was indicted in 2009 right on racketeering charges and uh the investigators said that he lived a double life that he was participating on the criminal side of the gang life while publicly condemning it right is he still locked up no alex beat his case oh he actually made his case absolutely did you think it was a retaliation in the same way that well it was well during that time with the rampart crash scandal since he was the the leader of homies to nidos the rampart crash figure we get rid of alex um and the and and and get him out of here deport him then that's the end of uh homie sunils that's when i...
stepped up they became the face of homie sunils if you will but yeah he was they they violated um the lapd violence special ordinance 40 which means they cannot turn over nobody into the ins so he was in ins custody and that's when all that's what we have the likes of senator tom hayden to back us up we have people um you know even if celebrities um things in that nature so that was retaliation because of that because he was the first um ex-gang

member

to get political asylum right here in the united states so he was going through that stuff as well and it's it's very similar from his case to my case in the wiretap stuff where they started twisting his words as as well and anything that we said i couldn't say even if you're messing around with somebody to a friend because i have this ms associate i can't go ahead and say yeah man like i need some real ass kicking man well you know what god damn i hate that guy and all of a sudden it's pursued where all of a sudden that means uh a hit but no he ended up beating his case a few months after i beat uh my case i was number one in my case in my indictment and when i beat my case number one in my indictment everybody from my case all of their charges were also um dismissed and i believe there was a domino effect yeah it was a domino effect and i believe there was some guy that he you know he was even tired of fighting the case where he actually pleaded guilty and they even took back his guilty plea no...
you guys just just get out of here right and after that when i was trying to talk to dominique who's gonna want to talk to you when you're a

former

ms

member

who the hell cares that you just wanted that you continue to be stereotype stereotype stereotype and you constantly have to walk on these eggshells if you will because all they have to say is this guy's a

former

ms-13

member

and he really is meaning what he said we just said hey yeah that guy needs to get his ass kicked well it's now 2020 right uh you did your jail time only to be found innocent uh you no longer consider yourself ms-13 absolutely not but you still have the tattoos well there was tattoos like if you see the ones on my neck i had some laser treatment so i went ahead and took those off if you will it was about 15 sessions and they go away within um eight sessions but for weather whatever ink was you know it's probably some hard ink so it goes and every time when you when you take off these tattoos i take kids that were in gangs with me to go through that process that they want to go ahead and take their tattoos off because it's not just taking off your tattoos if someone's stripping your identity right and what else are you going to go ahead and replace it so i took off all the visible ones and the other ones i'm collage from the chest all the way down to my stomach i mean the pain to go ahead and take that off is too gruesome but i've learned all the time sometimes when...
i'm in the spotlight that um okay now he took off his ms 13 tattoos now what could we go ahead and and find on him you know look at the way he talks look at the way he expresses themselves right is he still part of it or you know you start going to that that stuff like that and then the real one that starts to get was like well you know what well he's still you know on minor then they start attacking your race if you will then it goes to the situation of okay then who am i and that's when i tell the kids also when they take off their tattoos or the people that join gangs that's why they join dance because they continue to be oppressed oppress the press a lot of times by the larger culture where they have they don't have no sense of identity if you will and they feel that they have to go ahead and and join a band because they're being oppressed like um like that well and i had heard that removing a tattoo is way more painful than actually getting it no vlad it's like man it's like five five six seven times more painful homie it's hard and my skin is sensitive so my thing my thing puffs up like big time there was kids that i took that there were these hard totals and everything and i took them and as soon as they see how my my my skin plugs uh puffs up i look rather like hell no we're gone you know and then you have to go ahead and talk to them hey it's gonna be okay i don't know man so it's it's to that uh it's to...
that nature where it does hurt and it's just not one treatment you got to go every six weeks yeah well uh jurado

lopez

is a hell of a story and uh you went through a lot to get to this point a lot of losses a lot of pain but it seemed like you still have a good demeanor about the whole thing it seems like the the us government never broke you you know and it's broken a lot of people right a lot of people get into this prison system and uh you know like that one kid junior they they try to kill themselves right they they can't they can't go through that type of uh right hardship uh it seems like you you got through and you came out a stronger person right and not only did you leave the gang mentality but you actually are now leading an organization uh homies unidos that's actually helping other people following your footsteps as well so you know i'm definitely proud of of where you are in life right now and you know i'm expecting much greater things for you in the future thank you man i appreciate you vlad you know for reaching out and and wanting to have this um

interview

and you know like to say you know i talk a lot of negativity because it consists of the story talking about about the police or the government but you know during this time i have done president presentations where i have met good police officers right now not all of them are bad i have met you know people that have came to u.s attorneys that have came to apologize and say they...
didn't have nothing to do with my case i've sat in chambers with uh with federal judges talking about law that they have invited me i've done presentations for u.s attorneys for u.s attorneys that they do for the defense attorneys on how to humanize their clients who are facing the death penalty so they won't go ahead and and killed off so i understand that it was in every everybody and i can't go haters hate i can't hold on to hate and then teach somebody a kid to get out of a gang if you continue to have that um hate and i've gone to the extent also being fortunate to sit on the district attorney's law enforcement and community relations council in uh in denver to go ahead and build more of a better between law enforcement and a community also on how to go ahead and and relate to each other more how to have that respect also and i'm also a mayor appointed commissioner for the city of denver as um as well so anything is possible when you continue to to grow and continue to um to proceed you know i love it man i love to hear stories like this man i wish you all the best thank you lord appreciate thank you for having me appreciate it absolutely until next time right on peace