Swifty justice

The one-man Azusa crime wave known as Ralph  “Swifty” Flores, 26, received the death penalty Tuesday, as Tribune night guy Brian Day reported:

Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee, who prosecuted the case along with Deputy District Attorney Ian Phan, said Flores deserves to be put to death, “Because he smirks when he plans to kill people, he laughs when he does it, and he brags about it afterward. That’s what the evidence showed.”

She added that Flores has shown no compunction for his crimes, as he demonstrated by assaulting a sheriff’s deputy before the trial began and ordering a “hit” on a deputy during the jury selection process.

Flores sat silently and motionless as the verdict was read, Hanisee said. He showed no reaction at all, she added.

Defense attorney Pierpont M. Laidley said he believes negative feeling toward gang members in general caused jurors to overlook problems in the prosecutions case. “That’s why I feel my guy was lynched,” he said.

Los Angeles Times’ EME expert Sam Quinones extensively covered the trial and put some context in his story about the significance of the sentence and the effect of Flores’ crime wave on Azusa politics. Quinones also notes the connection between Azusa 13 and Jacques Padilla, an Azusa emero who’s been in the news lately. Here’s a snippet from the Times:

For Azusa, the case marks the end to a violent chapter in which a handful of gang members called the “trigger clique” terrorized the town with a series of shootings, killings, robberies and hate crimes targeting blacks.

Their rampage lasted from 1999 to 2004.

Besides Flores, seven other Azusa 13 gang members were convicted of the crimes and sentenced to lengthy prison terms — five of them in one 2004 trial.

“It was a violent time for the city,” said Sgt. Mike Bertelsen, Azusa’s gang expert. “We were having a murder a month at the end of 2002.”

What brought this violent period to an end “was a combination of citizens, the clergy, City Council and police all working together,” said City Manager Francis Delach. “I think that had a big impact.”

Azusa’s experience shows how a few gang members following directives from the Mexican Mafia prison gang can become a public policy issue, scaring residents while taxing the budget and police resources of an otherwise peaceful town.





The story further points out how, on orders from gangsters in state prison, members of Azusa 13 targeted black living in, and around, Azusa.

As far as I’m concerned this is another clear example of a race war that civic leaders and law enforcement claims isnt’ happening.

What happened Tuesday morning in Pasadena is a prime example. The recent wave of violent crime in Monrovia is certainly another.


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  • FX

    The latino politicains never talk about the killing of blacks by mexican gangs under the mexican mafia’s influence. The majority of latino gangs in California add the (-13) as a symbol of loyalty to the mexican mafia. Too bad we don’t have a quick death penalty for gang leaders in jail, who still call the shots out on the streets. The mexican mafia power has been growing for years and most people are blind to the fact, they have power over so many sureno gang members on the streets. What happened in Azusa is repeated all over California. Our open border with Mexico has only made this situation worse.

  • us


    The “open border” with the US factors only very little into the street politics of long established Mexican-American gangs. 1st generation immigrants usually don’t find a ‘home’ within southside street gangs. In jail, 1st generation immigrants have their own leadership structure, etc.

    To look at the border as a source of serious concern on this matter is to feed into the hysteria surrounding immigrant contributions to this country.

  • us


    The “open border” with the US factors only very little into the street politics of long established Mexican-American gangs. 1st generation immigrants usually don’t find a ‘home’ within southside street gangs. In jail, 1st generation immigrants have their own leadership structure, etc.

    To look at the border as a source of serious concern on this matter is to feed into the hysteria surrounding immigrant contributions to this country.

  • Alex

    How can we be talking about the “Power of the prison mexican mafia.” Don’t we have a legal system that can deal with those gangsters? I Can’t believe that the authorities are unable to eliminate this form of terrorism. How can the gangsters rule in jail.? This is a shame for this country. But in the meantime other gangsters on the streets terrorize our law abiding citizens. When my oldest son came aout of the army as a ranger, after fighting in Dessert Storm, he found a job at a medical equipment company. One morning when he was making a delivery in Compton, a teenager came from behind and put a gun on his head demanding his wallet, he threw his wallet on the floor, the guy picked it up, came back and put his gang on my son’s head again while saying: “Good bye.” At that moment some people stopped by, the guy probably got scared and ran away. God saved my son’s life at that moment, otherwise he could have been another one of the coroner’s statistics. I keep on saying enough is enough. Nothing has worked so far, clergy involvement, programs to rehabilitate gang members, nothing has worked. This is the time to take radical measures to eradicate the problem forever. Since some of those street gangs have more members than some of the police departments, involve the National Guard, which in a joint effort with local law enforcement agencies, search every hose in gang infested areas, identify gang members, encarcerate them, confiscate their guns, drugs, money, and thus exterminate this national terrorism, that doesn’t seem to worry our authorities. We need to quit putting patches on this horrible problem, we need to resolve it forever, with radical solutions.

  • Anonymous

    To FX. The use of “13” has been around since I was a kid (I am over 50, way older than the Mexican Mafia) and used to mean “M” for Marijuana or just a sign of contrariness by embracing an unlucky number. It does not always mean a sign of loyalty to “La eme.”

  • FX

    I personally know 18th street, Echo Park and Diamond St. gang members who are recent immigrants. I have spent most of my adult life mentoring and tutoring kids and trying to keep them out of gangs. My knowledge comes from “losing” kids, I have tried to help to gangs. Recent immigrants kids are recruited in many L.A. schools, you obviously don’t have first hand knowledge about what goes on in many L.A. schools. How many generations do you think a person has to be in the U.S., before he finds a “home” in a sureno gang?

    Recent poor immigrants are a new and growing source of gang recruits. This is not something I read, But something I see first hand. The U.S. has plenty of poor living in ghettos, we don’t need to add to the problem.

  • AZUSA 13


  • Local Boy

    FX knows what he’s talking about, us is only trying to, once again, soften how we should look at gangsters and is obviously living in the 1970’s or so. Alex knows what it’s like to almost lose a son and I’d call for even more drastic measures than him.

    Just take a look at MS, they’re almost all foreign born gangsters and one of the deadliest gangs around. As usual you can count on us to add nothing to the debate but b.s. I don’t care about which gang leader they follow, illegal immigrants are making the problem worse and anyone that can read and see knows it.

    Local Boy

  • you should all hear yourselves, you sound like a bunch of victims ,thats why you continue to remain annonymouse. and you want to critisize a gangster for living to the fullest without fear thats the differance between us, you run and hide, gangsters stand and ride.

  • Raul

    Gangsters stand and ride? Why is that they are always running from the helicopters, police and each other? You make sound it almost respectable to run with a gang. You criticize the cops for hiding behind a badge in a gun and you do the same thing minus the badge. You all believe that one day you will be the top dog, the Godfather..some kind of sick dream. But in an instant, you will betray one another and the legacy you tried so hard to build is gone. All I can say is God loves you!

  • Local Boy

    Typical gangster bs. They stand and ride by rolling up on some guy asking “where you from?” and then shooting him and taking off. That’s real brave. How about just fighting with your fists and leaving it at that?

    Gangsters don’t care about anyone but themselves and deserve no respect.

  • ……tooo

    azusa guys are little boyz thinking they are hard i grow up in azusa with them they are pusssies when they are alone….


  • g

    Your a pussy.

  • cd

    Azusa all day keep your head up gee

  • L

    racist wil always be around thanks to the KKK…im a mexican and respect all races as long as they respect me i dont have any problem with them… Azusa is a nice town been living here all my life and never want to leave it!!!