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Neta Association (Asociacion)

Some reports claim Neta originated iIn 1980, while others claim it was founded earlier, perhaps in the 1970s sometime. It was originally founded in Oso Blanco Prison, Rio Piedras, and Puerto Rico, where it was then also known as "Asociacion Pro-Derecho Al Confinando." It then began to make headlines in the US shortly after in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The original founder of the organization, Carlos Torres, had lived in poverty and gotten in legal trouble since he was a young boy before having intentions to form the gang in 1974. While an inmate at Oso Blanco prison in 1980, he was given the opportunity to develop a stronger network of individuals. However, Torres never was able to witness the rise of the gang that would within a few years become the largest prison gang in Puerto Rico, and he died in prison in 1981. Fellow members said that Torres created Neta to further the rights of prisoners and "extend efforts to help fellow inmates understand the fight for Puerto Rican independence and other abuses that were committed against our communities" (11 February 2003, EFE News Service).

The gang split into two factions in 1995, one following the original ideals of founder Carlos Torres and the other going independent. Recently, however, efforts by members to reunite the estranged factions has begun to increase.

According to the EFE News Service, the association attempts to promote the rights of prisoners and "help fellow inmates understand the fight for Puerto Rican independence and other abuses that were committed against our communities" (11 February 2003 EFE News Service). Much of the work by faithful members involves teaching Hispanic culture and education, some of which includes experiences from inside prison, and many members claim they are strictly part of an inmate-rights group. Like most culturally-based street and prison gangs, Neta has reportedly become the voice of marginalized, Latino youth, and actively recruits teenagers from streets across the country. However, members insist it be called an "organization" rather than a gang. Perhaps many of their activities do fit into this category, but the stigma generated by a handful of aggressors sheds the gang of any legal credibility.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Pamela Chen, quoted in the New York Post in 2001, "The Neta women's role [in prison], traditionally, was to take care of the inmates, collect funds and do public service." According to ... the Neta's "Code" does not include killing, unlike the codes of many other major prison and street gangs.

According to the New Jersey Department of Corrections, the Neta lack a hierarchy, and thus remain a loosely connected group of individually run gangs (26 April 2005 The Daily Journal).

As a prison gang, the Neta have attracted attention at:

As a street gang, the Neta have made headlines locally in:

Major conflicts have been reported between the Latin Kings and Neta, such as the 2004 fatal stabbing of a Latin King member in the Madrid district of Carabanchel. The Latin Kings website afterwards posted calls for revenge. At the same time, however, the Latin Kings have been reported to be allied with both the NETA and La Familia in county jails in Massachusetts. These three gangs, "in an uneasy alliance," now consensually claim certain key portions of the North End section of Boston, while surrendering primary turf to the Los Solidos in the South End (7 August 1994 The Boston Globe). However, the "uneasy alliance" between the triad has seen sporadic indications of violence and turf conflicts. One picture of the "alliance" might be a relationship of commercial necessity. Members of both primary gangs claim they hold true to their roots. Users have reported that the history of the Latin Kings and the Netas being cousins go back to Rikers Island Prision where both organizations fought against the increasing growth of Bloods and Crips on the East Coast.

Conflicts have been reported with The Asian Sworn Brothers, at least in Boston, where stabbings involving the two gangs have reported at local high schools and elsewhere, including the murder of a Sworn Brothers member in 1998.

Trinitarios are another reported rival.


7 August 1994 The Boston Globe

26 April 2005 The Daily Journal

11 February 2003 EFE News Service



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