How Prison Gangs Communicate

GANGS IN PRISONS - How gangs communicate


Most powerful prison gangs operate at state and nationwide level, while some have morphed into transnational border gangs. How prison gangs are able to communicate in and out of prison and commit organized crime throughout the nation may leave some pondering.

Bridges of communication among gang affiliated offenders is the main reason prison gangs for years have sent out murder hits to the streets, transferred money, declared war or settled truces with other prison gangs.
Gangs in prisons are now spreading international because of these bridges of communication. Bridges have made prison gangs what they are today, money-spinning syndicates and full fledge drug and extortion mafias.


Communication is transmitted by people closest associated with gang members. Relatives, close friends, spouses, and even sons and daughters are used as bridges. Often times people corresponding with offenders don't even know that they are being used as a bridge and find to their dismay that they have unintentionally committed several major felonies.
Gang members work their way into higher ranks by providing the gang with new contacts and bridges of communication. Offenders in gangs target the lonely and seek new 'friends' outside of prison.


Law enforcement agents who investigate gangs in prisons often use information provided to them by Correctional Officers who understand prison gang language and codes.

Some Disciple and Crip prison gang sets are known to use the Swahili language when communicating with each other, and the Mexikanemi and Barrio Azteca use Aztec or Mayan dialect. The old Chinese alphabet was once used by the Texas Syndicate, a predominantly Hispanic prison gang while the Aryan Brotherhood and Aryan Circle have used the ancient language of the Anglo-Saxons to their advantage.

Secret gang codes and alphabets are created and often revised and copies, or 'keys' are then distributed to high ranking members of the gang. SEE EXAMPLE

Gang leaders of major prison gangs use codes to document the names of every member, every enemy and other gang information. It is up to gang intelligence officers in prisons to decipher these codes and reference them as evidence. Mail is screened before entering or exiting prison and unfamiliar words or symbols are scanned by mailroom staff.


Better communication make a more powerful and organized prison gang. Prison gangs are known to make illegal money while inside prison and there's no better way to do it than with the use of cell phones. Cheap Pay-As-You-Go cell phones are purchased at stores with bogus names and then smuggled into prison where they are sold for premium prices. Cell phones are smuggled into prison by either corrupt officers, staff or the family members or friends of offenders.

The fight to dismantle prison gangs is an ongoing battle for officers in charge of taking down prison gangs one bridge at a time.




June 22, 2012 - The daughter of Manuel Cardoza, a high ranking Barrio Azteca capo was recently arrested and indicted for serving as a bridge for her father. 24 year old April Cardoza is suspected of bridging an execution order that led to the ambush and assassination of a U.S. Consulate and an El Paso County Sheriffs officer. (


November 10, 2012 - Four women from North and South Carolina are arrested for transferring communication for the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang. The women provided the gang with cell phones and helped the gang pass orders to kill via the postal system. (By MICHAEL GRACZYK Associated Press)

November 22, 2012 - Rosa Martinez, 32, is sentenced to 6 years in prison for aiding and abetting her boyfriend, a member of La Nuestra Familia prison gang. Martinez and her freind Carol Huerta are put under police survellence and followed followed as they visited Nuestra Familia prison gang generals in Alameda County Jail. (Silicon Valley MercuryNews)



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