Saturday, August 15, 2009

Los Surenos--Sur Trece-Links and Notes

Nuestra Familia comes before Surenos in year of origin, but I want to finish up the Mexican Mafia affiliations first.  This is an annotated bibliography, notes and sources. Not really a post. Updated December 5, 2009.
Items noted with asterisks ** are especially good.

Sureno means Southerner, as in Southern California. Sur=South. The 'n' should have a tilde over it to make the ny sound  (Sur-ayn-yo). Since they are extremely affiliated with the Mexican Mafia, their signs usually include the XIII, 13 or X3, Trece, or 3ce. (M is the 13th letter of the alphabet.)

The origin of the gang and its main rival, the Nortenos, arises out of a dispute between the Mexican Mafia and Nuestra Familia in the California prison system during the 1970's. The "Nuestra Familia" broke away from their very-rigid system to form their own gang. The Nortenos are an out growth of Nuestra Familia. Just as NF and the MM are enemies in prison, the Nortenos (N-14) are enemies of the Surenos. The Surenos were organized out of existing street gangs, and told not to fight between themselves in order to organize MM activities (drug trade) by location.

Graffiti, Language, Signs and Tattoos:
--In this example, "13 Sur Travieso" with three dots for the 3 in thirteen.  The three-dot motif also shows up in hand tattoos. Travieso means "mischief maker."

--Colors: blue with grey or silver.
--The word "barrio" means neighborhood. I'm theorizing that  to avoid the letter 'b', the word "varrio" is substituted.

--SPV-Sureno Por Vida (for life).
--Califas for California.
--A lot of the tattoos and drawings for this gang affiliation include the double masks for Tragedy and Comedy. One interpretation I saw was: "happy now, sad later, or consequences later." That may be true. or it may be too easy . . . The implication is that the drama masks are not Sur-13 specific, but I have not seen them accented anywhere else.

--The Surenos call the Nortenos by the disrespectful name of "Busters" or "Chapates" or Chaps. The implication to the latter is rural, as in, the Nortenos are farm hicks or some such. Nortenos call the Surenos "Scrap", "Scrappaz", or "Sur-Rat" (sewer-rat).

--2009, December 2--San JoseMercury--Accused Redwood City murderer, 14 at time of shooting, says older gang member filed the shot."  The defendant was asked what was the penalty of testifying that the older man committed the crime. "I get killed," he says.

--2008, October 1--NYDailyNews/AP--"Over 1300 arrested in summer gang bust." 1315 gang members were arrested nationwide, 338 were Surenos. The article says that the increased number of Surenos may be as much from "better reporting" or distinguishing different hispanic gangs rather than an increased census of Surenos. (Looking at google's news history, this appears to be a very accurate assessment.)

--2004, June 28--streetgangs. com--History of the LOTT X3 Stoner Gang. " . . . all the feuds with our rival gangs were settle the Old School Way, “a puros trancasos” proving yourself with your own fists. . . .
"As the homeboys began getting busted and doing years behind bars our look gradually became more of the traditional Cholo gang. Homeboys starting getting “TLS X3″ and “LOTT X3″ stamped (tattooed) on their bodies as we became more hard-core in gang life-style. By the mid to late 80’s, THE LOTT 13 SURENOS had evolved into a traditional Cholo n’hood and all the madness that comes with it."

The article goes on to say that recruitment into a bigger network started in 1989, which is consistent with information from the videos in Mexican Mafia, Part one.

--Credit: Notepaper Drawing from Texas, "Stayin' True to Da Blue.", a site built by a (self-identified) high-school student in Longview, Texas, for his friends to learn about the gang.

--Credit: Rose B, Minneapolis, MN in December 2006. Graffiti claiming her neighborhood.
--Credit: Tattoo, AZ Department of Corrections.

--Credit: "No Busters" from, which will not come up on my server. A similar noticia calls them "norputos" which would be Northern faggot, male prostitute," or, similar. another sign, "Putting Busters six feet under."

--Credit: Looney SPV-13's page. More examples of stacking on the page from a social media site.
--Credit: MySpace by SUREnOS ONLY. More typographical putdowns: "'surexos y surexas'  dowx with the South side'. Social Media is Extremely Important to the Group.

--Credit: Northwestgangsphotostream on, an entire collection of graffiti.

"The majority of Sureno gang members have no direct contact with Mexican Mafia members, yet the Mexican Mafia is able to exercise control and influence over Sureno gangs located in Southern California and a few scattered cities throughout the nation, without the knowledge of the majority of the street gangs’ members." From, referenced below.

--Mottos reported by the Modesto Bee: "Thou shalt earn respect" and "Kill a Norteno, win a prize." (cited in, referenced below.)

--Poem by from brownpride. com Board--['shouting' removed]
Let it rain, Let it thunder;
Bust a Norputa 4 feet under;      (another poem says "cornbread puto")
13 up high,14 will die;
Drag Tha Red Flag, Let Tha Blue Flag fly high;
Surenos don't die, Mothafucka,We Multiply!!

**Sureno Constitution, as translated from Tennessee Department of Corrections and listed by Tracy Barnhart for Officer Survival Techniques. The constitution zealously avoids the numbers 4, 14, 24, etc, because '14' or '4' is a Norteno number. It's too long to be listed here, but worthwhile to go to the link.

Uploaded by Jimmy Salgado (2007). A few signs, some art, 5 minutes. By two minutes you've seen all the illustrations. Sur Side 305, another area code, this time for Miami/Dade.
Drama masks featured. Blood-killing is mentioned in this video.

Video: toker8rosko2 uploads Surenos fight June, 2008. No context is given to the various fights. The music is great--by which I mean the lyrics do the explaining. Some of them might be initiation beatings.

Web Sites:
--Gangpreventionservices. org has an article describing the gangs' expansion out of LA, the shifting of alliances as the spread continues. Just because they wear blue, they are not affiliated with the Crips; "don't be fooled."

**Insideprisons. com has a good article from the prison perspective, lists the enemies and alliances to the gang as well as documenting its spread throughout  the U.S. According to the site, Surenos are present in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico.

** has an excellent page that explains the relationship of the Mexican Mafia to the Surenos. The Surenos are an affiliation of a number of gangs, and most of them don't call themselves Surenos. They sometimes fight between themselves. They are not members of the Mexican Mafia, but strongly allied. They also have a page of Sureno handsignals.

--rapdict. org doesn't always have good info, but this time, fairly good. They indicate that Florencia 13 is part of the Sur-13 affiliated. Some good pictures.
--Sampson Co. Sheriff, NC, a one-page PDF on the gang, very basic but very accurate.

--Streetgangs. com says there are "500 Sureno gangs in LA County representing over 50% of all gang membership." Provides links to specific groups.

--Surenos-13 Street Gang site. No dates, no authors, but still interesting. "an alliance of hundred of street gangs in Southern California". There's not much new information here.

--Upstate Califas Surtrece X3 web site on lists Sur-13 sets in Northern California. After the list, no links, but an invitation to network with the site administrator. Hmmmm.

**Washington County, Oregon Sheriff's Office Gang Anti-Task Force has a great number of examples for its locals of Sur-13 graffiti and tattoos, along with 18th Street and neo-Nazi information. This is a great example of how local law enforcement educates its citizens. The variety also shows how many smaller cliques (clicas) are still all affiliated under the X3 banner.

Some preliminary conclusions/investigations:
The literature I am seeing suggests that press and law enforcement focus on this gang affiliation is fairly recent.
a. I also think more gang sets are losing their individual names e.g. Lott St. Locos to identify under the Sur-13 category, which makes it easier for law enforcement and journalists to identify them.
b. The literature I am finding on this gang suggests a very young age for the gang--a lot of social media like Facebook and its Spanish-speaking equivalents, cliche'd mottos, etc--or, a surge of youth into the gang, again making them suddenly prominent enough to be noticed.
c. A third reason for an upsurge is the spread of the gang nationwide, but particularly the turf-battles in central California, as Sur moves North into traditionally Norteno territory. Generating a lot of press.


Anonymous said...

The three dots are "mi vida loca"

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