LAPD wrongly took ex-mafia member out of prison to address businessmen

AFP Photo / Michal Czerwonka

AFP Photo / Michal Czerwonka

Los Angeles police spent $22,000 and weeks of intense, advanced planning to take an ex-mafia member serving two life sentences for murder out of prison so he could address dozens of business leaders – without the authority to do so, no less.

First reported by the Los Angeles Times, a
new report by the inspector general for the
Los Angeles Police Department found that officials relied on a
court order that had been expired for more than two years in
order to take Rene “Boxer” Enriquez out of prison in late
January. It also found that the order only allowed Enriquez to
leave in the event that he was helping officials prosecute a
murder case.

Nonetheless, law enforcement assigned several officers to develop
an operational plan that would transport Enriquez – who ordered
hits as part of the Mexican Mafia and admitted to raping a woman
before being sentenced for murdering two people – to the site of
a private business event held by the Young Presidents’
Organization (YPO), the report stated.

In fact, plans were so extensive that the operational team
developed different routes with which to transport Enriquez,
identified safe houses in case the operation was
“compromised” and inspected the YPO venue. A helicopter
even flew along the primary route before the event in order to
“survey” it.

All of this planning took about two and a half days to complete
and cost thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds, the report said.

The YPO had requested Enriquez as a guest, though an LAPD command
officer told the chief of police that the event was a “law
enforcement training event designed predominantly for members of
the Major Cities Chiefs Association” and the Los Angeles County
Police Chiefs’ Association.”
The YPO would only be there as
secondary participants.

However, 150 YPO members ended up attending the evet, while just
14 LAPD members were there.

Additionally, invitations for the event made no mention that it
was related to the LAPD or law enforcement in general, the
inspector general wrote. Instead, the invitation described its
guest speaker as someone who “had never spoken” to the
members and “would never speak to them again.”

“You will be…amazed, shocked, blown away and maybe even a
little scared,”
it read, according to the report.

On Friday, the LAPD told the LA Times that a personnel complaint
investigation into the issue has been launched “based on the
contents of the report.”

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Enriquez has become a noteworthy figure in LA’s justice system.
He has renounced the mafia, cooperated with law enforcement and
served as an expert witness on several gang-related cases –
behavior that has earned him praise from some law enforcement
agencies. He has also spoken at multiple conferences and training
sessions despite his criminal past.

A state parole board recently granted Enriquez parole, but
California Gov. Jerry Brown blocked his release. Brown said that although
Enriquez has worked to better himself since being incarcerated,
threats against his life by the Mexican Mafia meant releasing him
still posed a risk to his life and the community in which he
finds himself.

“When considered as a whole, I find the evidence shows that
he currently poses an unreasonable danger to society if released
from prison,”
Brown said, as quoted by the Times. The
governor added that Enriquez did not sufficiently address why he
became so violent.

Enriquez said he wanted to be released so that he could “give
to a community he did much harm to.

“I cannot undo the past. But I can contribute to the
he said to the parole board. “I can contribute
to dissuading other individuals from participating in this.”

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