Convicted Mexican Mafia "shot caller" Rene Enriquez, 52, was at the center of a public controversy this week when Los Angeles police drew criticism for arranging a meeting in which he gave a lecture to a private group of local business leaders and some law enforcement officials. Records show his close relationship with law enforcement goes well beyond Wednesday's event in downtown Los Angeles and has helped the former member of the Mexican Mafia make a bid for freedom.

A state parole board recently decided that Enriquez should be released, despite concerns expressed by a prosecutor, according to records obtained by The Los Angeles Times. Enriquez's fate is now in the hands of Gov. Jerry Brown, who has about three more weeks to decide whether he should be freed.

Enriquez's request for parole included letters by officials from 11 law enforcement agencies who said he had helped with investigations and prosecutions, according to a transcript of his Sept. 25 parole hearing. The letters praised Enriquez's work but only one specifically suggested that the board consider granting him parole.

But a Los Angeles County prosecutor who spoke at the hearing asked commissioners to consider whether Enriquez was manipulating them. Deputy Dist. Atty. Joseph Shidler told the parole board that Enriquez had "one of the worst criminal histories that I have ever seen."

In the 1990s Enriquez was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of two people: a Mexican Mafia member who had run afoul of the group for running away from a gunfight; and a drug dealer whom Enriquez accused of stealing drugs from him.

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