The Black Hand: The Bloody Rise and Redemption of

The Black Hand: The Bloody Rise and Redemption of "Boxer" Enriquez, a Mexican Mob Killer

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by Chris Blatchford

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THE BLACK HAND is the true story of Rene Enriquez, aka "Boxer," and his rise in a secret criminal organization, a new Mafia, that already has a grip on all organized crime in California and soon all of the United States. This Mafia is using a base army of an estimated 60,000 heavily armed, loyal Latino gang members, called

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THE BLACK HAND is the true story of Rene Enriquez, aka "Boxer," and his rise in a secret criminal organization, a new Mafia, that already has a grip on all organized crime in California and soon all of the United States. This Mafia is using a base army of an estimated 60,000 heavily armed, loyal Latino gang members, called Surenos, driven by fear and illicit profits. They are the most dangerous gang in American history and they wave the flag of the Black Hand.

Mafioso Enriquez gives an insider′s view of how he devoted his life to the cause--the Mexican Mafia, La Familia Mexicana, also known as La Eme--only to find betrayal and disillusionment at the end of a bloody trail of violence that he followed for two decades.

And now, award-winning investigative journalist Chris Blatchford, with the unprecedented cooperation of Rene Enriquez, reveals the inner workings, secret meetings, and elaborate murder plots that make up the daily routine of the Mafia brothers. It is an intense, never-before-told story of a man who devoted his life to a bloody cause only to find betrayal and disillusionment.

Based on years of research and investigation, Chris Blatchford has delivered a historic narrative of a nefarious organization that will go down as a classic in mob literature.

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Editorial Reviews

Don't look now, but there's a new mob in town. Actually, La Familia Mexicana (a.k.a. La Eme, the Mexican Mafia) has been around since the '50s, organized first as a prison gang, then expanding into a full-scale criminal enterprise numbering approximately 60,000 Latino gang members. In The Black Hand, former La Eme hitman "Boxer" Enriquez reveals the story of this dangerous, highly secretive group, arguably the most dangerous gang in American history.

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The Black Hand

The Bloody Rise and Redemption of "Boxer" Enriquez, a Mexican Mob Killer

By Chris Blatchford
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2008

Chris Blatchford
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061257292

Chapter One

Blood In, Blood Out

He had a lot of blood on his hands—from the streets and from behind bars.

Now he sat in Los Angeles Superior Court waiting for Judge Florence-Marie Cooper to set a trial date. He faced two first-degree murder charges and two attempted-murder charges. If convicted, the death penalty was a definite possibility—at the very least life in prison—and he didn't seem to care.

In fact, as a nearby television news camera videotaped the proceedings, twenty-nine-year-old Rene Enriquez, better known on the gang-infested streets of southern California as "Boxer," calmly turned toward the camera lens, softly mouthed the word "lies," and broke into shoulder-shaking laughter.

He was strikingly handsome with a personality that demanded attention, a certain presence that commanded respect. Thick, jet-black hair combed back. A full mustache turned down at the edges. A sharp, pointed nose and high cheekbones betraying his Mexican-Aztec roots. His wire-rim glasses surrounded friendly eyes that instantly could turn cold and threatening. He was five-foot-eight but carried himself like a man a half-foot taller, trim and athletic. He actually looked good in short-sleeved jailhouse blues. If not forthe tattoos that marked both sides of his neck, dotted his hands, and sleeved his forearms, he could easily have put on an expensive suit and passed for one of the slick courthouse lawyers who make a living representing guys just like him—gangsters.

While on parole a year and a half earlier, he had ordered the death of a young woman for stealing drugs from him, and several days later he put five .357 Magnum bullets into the head of an errant mobster who had shown cowardice. Then, while awaiting trial, he did two other bloody hits inside the Los Angeles County Jail—stabbing the rival mobsters so many times that it was only a stroke of fate that kept them from making an early trip to their graves. In truth, authorities believe he had participated in at least ten murders and had personal knowledge of seven times that many.

Boxer Enriquez was a full-fledged member of the ruthless Mexican Mafia, also known as La Eme, a regular modern-day Murder Incorporated. And he was proud of it. "Eme" (pronounced EH-meh) is the Spanish phonetic pronunciation of the letter "M"—for Mafia. He has eme tattooed on his left hand. The word emero, also for "M," appears on his left bicep. A butterfly, or Mariposa, also signifying the letter "M," is on his neck. An actual life-size black hand is tattooed over his heart with a small "eMe" emblazoned in the middle of the palm—the e on each side lightened in color to give prominence to the letter M. La Eme has a saying that, "when the hand touches you, you go to work." That means murder, maiming, mayhem, extortion, drug dealing, robbing, burglarizing, kidnapping, or anything else the Mexican Mafia brothers want done. And Boxer had done them all.

He moved his chair back and forth on its hind legs and stared at Judge Cooper as she set his murder trial date for January 1, 1993. This was no sweat. He stood up straight, already handcuffed and waist-and-leg-chained, and was escorted out of the courtroom under heavy guard. That was the way he would go anywhere outside his cell for the rest of his life. There was the sound of chains clanging as he walked, and he turned and nonchalantly waved as he neared the prisoners' exit door at the side of the courtroom. There would be no bail. Again, he didn't seem to mind. Already Boxer had spent about one-third of his young life locked up. He was reasonably comfortable in prison. Besides, he was a feared killer—even in a world of killers, he knew he would never hesitate. Others would. He was a killer's killer and proud of it—a warrior.

He also knew that the Mexican Mafia controlled not only County Jail but the largest inmate population in the world and all the prison rackets, including drugs, extortion, and gambling. The California Department of Corrections had 160,000 inmates, and La Eme used murder and fear to keep them in line. Yeah, he would be just fine.

By his own admission, it was a "twisted" existence, but he was smart and confident. He knew he not only looked like a gangster, he was one. And after all, it was a life he had bargained for, and there was only one acceptable way out. He'd taken an oath with his Eme brothers—"blood in, blood out." In other words, the only way out of the Mafia was in a pine box.

That was the cardinal rule in this deadly game he played, and he felt he was a player at the top of his game.

And besides, the Mexican Mafia had a Spanish word to describe the position of its members: rifamos. Translation: "we rule, we control, we reign." The line that divided life in prison and life in the outside world seemed blurred.

Boxer's criminal career was indicative of the lifestyle of the Mexican Mafia, which did outrageous crimes with impunity, not caring if the brothers got caught or went to prison. They adapted, becoming creatures of the penal system and the cruel streets of the underworld. They had no regard for human life, and still don't.

Rene Enriquez, aka "Boxer," enjoyed being one of them. And to more completely understand what Boxer had become, it's important to first know the bloody history of the organization that spawned and shaped him.


Excerpted from The Black Hand by Chris Blatchford Copyright © 2008 by Chris Blatchford. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What People are saying about this

William "Billy" Queen
“Chris Blatchford has hit a grand slam. The Black Hand is an important page turning book that will take you into a frightening dark world that shouldn’t exist… but it does. It’s riveting, and when you finish the book, you’ll get up and lock your doors. Highly recommended.”
Joe Pistone
“A fascinating look at the world of the Mexican Mafia, more ruthless than the LCN. A must read for law enforcement and a tribute to the courage of ‘dropout’ Rene ‘Boxer’ Enriquez.”
Vincent Bugliosi
“A courageous and well-written exposé on one of the most ruthless and powerful gangs of all, the Mexican Mafia. Chris Blatchford reaffirms his position as being among Americans greatest investigative reporters.”
From the Publisher
"A gripping, powerful, chilling inside look at a criminal organization that is changing the organized crime landscape. This is a mob classic." —-Dominick Dunne
Joseph Wambaugh
“A fascinating, vivid and unforgettable insider’s look at the bloody, secret and deadly Mexican Mafia. Chris Blatchford’s compulsively readable wake-up call spares no one and names everyone, including the politicians who aid and abet this dangerous criminal organization, through corruption, maddening naiveté, or political correctness.”
Dominick Dunne
“A gripping, powerful, chilling inside look at a criminal organization that is changing the organized crime landscape. This is a mob classic.”

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Black Hand 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Boxer ALMOST tells all! Which is alot since not many dropouts reveal information on how their gang operates. Very insightful, especially for anyone studying criminal justice, involved in law enforcement, or just interested in reading about stone cold killers. Not praising what he did in life, but lets the reader know there's heartless killers out there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitely worth taking a look at. Well written and it is hard to put down this book. It goes beyond the basic details and takes you into the particulars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved love love this book! I could not put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very intresting i could not put it down. It really scared me because they hurt innocent people for nothing, they don't even give you a opprotunity to defend the truth than a lie and that is really sad.
Thank GOD that Rene had the courage to leave evil behind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I work with inmates and many of them are involved with gangs. This book was referred by a gang intel friend of mine. Well written and fascinating.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author has provided a well-written, easy to read account of the Mexican Mafia. Detailed information on their drug dealing and distribution plus not too graphic documentation on some of the numerous murders completes this informative look into this organized crime group. Residents of Southern California will especially be interested in the group's activities throughout the southland.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read. Helps you understand the heartless senseless killings this and all gangs to for the "loyalty" to the gang.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I literally just finished this book one minute ago. To make an incredibly long story short, I googled Mexican Mafia book and scoured results to see which book had the most articulate info and best customer reviews. The Black Hand seemed the most favorable among readers so I embarked on a mission at my local B&N to find it. I searched high and low in the biography section assuming it would be there. No results. I then went to the social sciences section thinking it for sure would be there. Frustrated, I turned to my right and saw the true crime section. ALAS! I thought. Not so... I saw a sales associate and inquired the whereabouts of this now highly coveted book. "That is downstairs behind the counter," she retorted. I went on to ask her out of sheer curiosity why it would be downstairs kept behind a counter (was it that inappropriate for young readers? Or so I thought). Her answer was simple: "It's one of our most stolen books." I quickly charged downstairs and purchased a copy. Let me tell you right now, I understand why people are trying to get their hands on this book. IT'S TAKES YOU ON A UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL TOUR OF LA EME AND THE WAY THINGS WORK. Sorry for the caps but I cannot convey this message enough. I started researching gang culture (I'm mexican by the way/ female) due to a former guy I was dating that got caught up in the life pursuing neighborhood gang status who is currently serving an eight year prison sentence. I work with at risk youth now and felt this book could give me insight into what these kids (especially boys) are aspiring to achieve. This book truly opened my eyes to a world that is run like like a blood thirsty business entity fueled by drugs, racketeering and politics. One could say they already knew that but I am telling you, for those who want to actually LEARN about La Eme, and the hispanic gang culture God's LOOK NO FURTHER.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book! It was impossible to put it down after I opened it and began reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hands down , very interesting book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I and my hubby went to Barnes n Noble to get this book we were told it was a high risk book, (theft wise) so far everyone is talking about this...and more n more ppl are getting it. Great book!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the free preview and loved it. I have not been into a book like this since i was 17,im 31 and wow. I have read 32 chapters in one day. I really recommend this book to anyone i know you'll enjoy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The black hand is a great story. I question some of Enrique's accuracy if for no other reason than the Junkie factor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lisa Ortiz More than 1 year ago
You will not put down this book. Great insight to the mafia and the politics involved in it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago