Organized Crime The Mongols Outlaw Motorcycle Club was founded in the East Los Angeles area, (City of Montebello,) in the late 60’s. It originally had ten members and all of them have had some type of contact with law enforcement. As the club grew, other chapters were formed and they rapidly expanded throughout the State of California. The Mongols quickly got involved in criminal activity, as means to support their club and lavish lifestyles.
These crimes included the sale of narcotics, (predominantly Methamphetamine,) money laundering, robbery, extortion, firearms’ violations, murder, and assault, among other crimes. An organization of this type is formed by a group of individuals, whom predominantly come from an upbringing lacking educational and financial opportunities, and were raised in a broken home where one or both parents were not present. In the year 2008, the club president at the time, Ruben “Doc” Cavazos, made several poor choices, which brought federal indictments on himself and the rest of club members.
Doc Cavazos was subsequently sentenced to 20 years in federal prison and prosecutors requested an injunction that prohibited club members and their families from possessing and/or wearing anything associated with the Mongols. In the same town, another former club president and founder of the Mongols, Alfonso “Big Al” Aceves, serves as a program director at The Rivers Edge Church. After a life of violence, drugs and serving time in prison, Big Al committed his life to Jesus Christ and began his journey as a Christian.
Two men with the same background and chasing the same selfish goals; both earned the highest position in the same organization, one was swallowed by deception and the other was granted redemption Organized crime or criminal organizations are the international, national or local highly centralized enterprises ran by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations are politically motivated.
An outlaw motorcycle gang is designed in a paramilitary system. There is a chain of command and ranks within this criminal enterprise. There is uniformity in the way they dress, (commonly known as “Colors,”) and they are obligated to ride the same make of motorcycles, (typically Harley Davidson. ) As in other criminal organizations, members operate by a code and they pledge an oath of death, should they decide to leave, (or “drop-out,”) the organization. Ruben “Doc” Cavazos was born and raised only by his father in Highland Park, in 1957.
As he grew up, he became a member of The Avenues Gang of Highland Park, (a gang deemed involved in organized crime. ) During his late teen years, Doc Cavazos ended up serving time in county jail for a variety of crimes, but later earned a license to work as a radiology technician, hence the nickname “Doc. ” It was evident Doc Cavazos wanted to live a life of crime and violence and after getting tired of earning an honest living, he decided to join the Mongols. Doc Cavazos rapidly moved up in the ranks and subsequently became the international president of the club.
Doc Cavazos’ overconfident demeanor generated a lot attention not only amongst the other outlaw motorcycle gangs, but also amongst local and federal law enforcement agencies. Several search warrants were served at Doc Cavazos’ homes and businesses and he always displayed a cocky attitude with police officers and federal agents during the raids. He always had the financial means and legal counsel to get him out of jail on bail within 24 hours from being arrested. However, Doc Cavazos’ own arrogance would become the tool not only law enforcement agents, but also his own troops would utilize to seal his doom.
Doc Cavazos’ biggest mistake within his organization was to begin recruiting members of the 18th Street Gang with affiliations with the Mexican Mafia and foreign drug cartels. This decision created tumult amongst Mongol’s members, since these 18th Street gang members did not own Harley Motorcycles, which is a must requirement for club members. It was evident to the rest of the Mongols that Doc Cavazos was mostly interested in troop numbers and the expansion of the drug, extortion and racketeering trades, than maintaining the oath he once pledged.
Unbeknownst to Doc Cavazos was that this expansion of the club would open a bigger door for law enforcement to infiltrate confidential informants into the Mongols’ organization to gather intelligence. Within a short period of time, Doc Cavazos, his son Junior and the rest of club members found themselves with No Bail federal indictments and an injunction for their club. Before Doc Cavazos was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison, he was voted out from his position as the president of the Mongols. Doc Cavazos now sits in protective custody within the federal prison system, since a bounty et by his Mongol brothers will be awarded to the one who kills him. Alfonso “Big Al” Aceves grew up in East Los Angeles with no parental support and became what is commonly known in the criminal world as “The Enforcer,” by the age of 18. Big Al would get paid to collect monies from drug sales from subjects who would refuse or would be late in paying the drug lords. According to Big Al, he would prefer these subjects not pay, so he could have a reason to kill them. At almost 20 years-old, Big Al joined the armed forces and became a member of the 101st Airborne, which fought in Vietnam.
Big Al said during an interview in reference to his military recruitment, “What is better than to kill people, is to legally kill people and get paid for it. ” Upon his return from Vietnam, Big Al had various run-ins with the law and this prompted him to create an outlaw motorcycle club, which he called, the Mongols. His experience in the military also gave him the foundation to create a criminal organization. Big Al quickly became known for his violent behavior and ability to make money by illegal means. This earned him a reputation in the criminal world and the Mongols began to grow in size and in violent acts.
Big Al ended up serving several county jail and prison sentences for a variety of major crimes. By the time he met his wife, who already had six children from a previous relationship, Big Al’s strength as a gang leader had begun to deteriorate; based on his drug consumption. Big Al became extremely addicted to Heroin and his earnings in the criminal world were not enough to maintain his drug habit and in turn, to provide for his family. Big Al and his family lost it all and became homeless with nowhere to go. There was a Christian family who met Big Al and his family, and they took them into their home.
The head of that family told Big Al that the only thing he required of him was to read a Bible verse with him once a day. As time went by, Big Al was asked if he was willing to ask Jesus Christ into his heart and he yielded. He began his walk as a Christian, but there were still some challenges to face. There was still one pending case for an attempt to plant a bomb and Big Al served time in federal prison for this crime. Another challenge he faced was going through Heroin withdrawals which considering his excessive drug abuse, could have been lethal.
Upon his released from prison, he met with his wife and family at the airport and the first thing Big Al told his wife was, “We are going back to church. ” Big Al now serves as a counselor at a local church and he has spoken in hundreds of speaking engagements. He has also become the mentor to many, just as he, whom had led a life of crime and violence, and have now found forgiveness and redemption in Jesus Christ. We find two men of the same ethnicity, growing up in the same city, initially trying to embark in a legitimate career, but then deceived into returning to a lawless lifestyle.
They both rose to power and temporarily enjoyed their status and sumptuous ways of living only to find out in the end that it was all meaningless. One of these men finds himself captive and in fear for his life, while the other, although having been tried and faced severe consequences, has finally found true freedom and deliverance in Jesus Christ. In the same sense, we see how these two men with similar upbringings and the lack of parental love and guidance were easily snared into a life of crime and violence; supporting socio-cultural statistics.
Works Cited “Al Aceves: Hard Core No More. ” The 700 Club. Interview by Gordon Robertson. CBN. 19 Dec. 2012. Television. The River’s Edge Ranch. “Al Aceves. ” A remarkable testimony. Web. www. theriversedgeranch. org/about-us/staff/316763. aspx[->0] Cavazos, Ruben “Doc”. Honor Few, Fear None. New York: Basic, 2008. Print. [->0] – http://www. theriversedgeranch. org/about-us/staff/316763. aspx