Earlier this month, a U.S. district court judge sentenced Mexican Mafia member Jose "Bat" Marquez to life in prison
. He was convicted after a four-day trial for trafficking methamphetamine from a prison cell.
Most law enforcement officials would consider this a success; however, it was too little, too late for those of us familiar with his criminal past. As an enforcer for the Mexican Mafia prison gang and violent Arellano-Felix Cartel, Marquez should have been prosecuted for numerous murders and conspiracies to murder. A proper sentence would have been death.
Jose Marquez was born on the U.S. side of the border. Marquez grew up in the barrios of San Diego, joining the Del Sol street gang in his early teens. He had numerous brushes with the law and by 19 he had been arrested for grand theft, grand theft auto, burglary, resisting arrest and battery on a police officer. When he was 20, he was convicted for drug sales and sentenced to seven years as a drug-addicted felon. He was released after less than two years. Three months later, he was arrested again for burglary. This time he was sentenced to six years in state prison.
In prison, the Sureño loyal to the Mexican Mafia prison gang was moved to San Quentin after assaulting a Norteño inmate with a shovel. He was arrested twice that year in San Quentin prison on weapon possession charges.
In June of 1987, Jose Marquez was again paroled and in 1988 he teamed up with "Roy Boy" Rivas, another San Diego gang member. The two attempted to kill Reggie Magana. In January of 1989, Marquez and Rivas teamed up to stab a drunken party crasher at Marquez's house on Market Street. Later, the Marquez-Rivas hit team murdered a man in a Tijuana junkyard, shooting the victim with .380 and 9mm rounds.
In September of 1989, Marquez was convicted and sentenced to a five-year sentence for methamphetamine sales. Prison did not hamper Marquez's propensity for murder.
In March of 1991, acting on Bat Marquez's orders, Roy Boy Rivas and Ken "Boogaloo" Flores murdered Christopher Garcia in San Diego. For this murder, Roy Boy Rivas was rewarded with membership in the Mexican Mafia sponsored by Bat Marquez, "Black Dan" Barella, and Mario "Gato" Marquez at Donovan State Prison in October of 1991.
In November, Roy Boy Rivas and Bat Marquez are transferred to Pelican Bay State Prison—the most secure prison in California. Most of the Mexican Mafia are housed here in the prison's Security Housing Unit (SHU).
When Rivas is paroled in April of 1992, he's contacted by fellow San Diego gang member David "Popeye" Barron, who was a methamphetamine cook with ephedrine connections in Mexico. Barron gives Rivas $5,000 and a sack of meth to sell.
Later in 1992, Rivas and Marquez would sponsor fellow San Diego gang member David "Popeye" Barron into the Mexican Mafia.
In 1994, Marquez is again paroled and Rivas is arrested and returned to R.J. Donovan State Prison for a short stay.
On June 25, 1994 (a Saturday), Bat attended a meeting with about a dozen of his Mexican Mafia carnals (brothers) at the Days Inn Motel in Monterey Park just east of Los Angeles. Little did they know that the Los Angeles Metropolitan Violent Gang Task Force led by the FBI and my surveillance team with the Los Angeles County Sheriff were covertly and electronically monitoring this meeting with video and audio.
Beside the extortion of Edward James Olmos for his insults to the Eme in the film "American Me" (1992), Mexican Mafia members discussed the alliance with the Arellano-Felix Cartel and the proposed contract on "Chapo" Guzman, the leader of the rival Sinaloa Cartel.
Bat soon returned to prison in December of 1994, after he was arrested for auto theft and gun possession with Steve Ochoa in San Ysidro, Calif., just south of San Diego.