Rodolfo Alvarado Cadena was a Mexican-American mob boss and legendary figure in the Mexican Mafia prison gang. Take a look below for 25 more strange and bizarre facts about Rodolfo Cadena.
1. Cadena was born on April 15, 1943, in San Antonio, Texas, the son of second generation Mexican immigrants Anita and Daniel Hernandez Cadena.
2. His family moved to Bakersfield, California, where Cadena attended East Bakersfield High School.
3. Cadena became a member of the Barrio Viejo Gang, which is now known as the Barrio Bakers.
4. He was incarcerated at Deuel Vocational Institution after he and Richard Ruiz, who would become one of the founding members of La Eme, stabbed a man to death outside a dance-hall called Salon Juarez in 1959.
5. At the time of his conviction, Cadena was only 16 years old.
6. While he was in prison, Cadena earned the respect and admiration of the members of the Mexican Mafia, which was still in its development stage.
7. Cadena and Joe “Pegleg” Morgan, who became his best friend and mentor, led the Mexican Mafia to prominence in the California correctional system by terrorizing other unorganized ethnic inmate groups, gaining a monopoly over the sale of drugs, pornography, prostitution, extortion and murder for hire.
8. Cadena continued to run the Mafia’s activities and began to look beyond the walls of prison, envisioning a statewide monopoly of crime.
9. He struck an alliance with George Jackson and the Black Guerrilla Family and became active in Latino political organizations, like the Brown Berets.
10. Cadena made overtures to unite La Eme with the rival Nuestra Familia, but his peace talks with “the farmeros” were frowned upon by Joe Morgan and other senior Eme leaders.
11. The senior La Eme leaders ordered the murder of two Familia leaders just prior to an important peace conference between Cadena and Death Row Joe Gonzalez, a NF leader at Chino Reception center, undermining Cadena’s peace mission and greenlighting him.
12. With no influence in the Mexican Mafia, Cadena’s importance in the eyes of the NF was diminished and he became a target for retribution.
13. Cadena could have saved himself by requesting Protective Custody, a move that would have shown weakness to the way of life that he had fought and killed for.
14. His fate effectively sealed, he chose to go out the way he had come in, fighting.
15. On his arrival in Chino for the now sabotaged peace mission, he was taunted by the Nortenos and told that his time would come.
16. The night before his death, Cadena had received multiple death threats and knew that when he left his cell in the morning, he would be leaving it permanently.
17. On the morning of December 17, 1972, Cadena was asked if he wanted to leave his cell with the rest of the prisoners.
18. Cadena stepped onto the tier of his cell in “Palm Hall” at the Chino Reception Center and was stabbed repeatedly with shanks, and beat with a pipe by Familia assassins.
19. Cadena was stabbed about 50 times on the tier and thrown off a third story tier onto the concrete floor below and stabbed another 20 times.
20. He was buried at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield, California, with an inscription reading, “Remembered by your mother and family.”
21. His parents divorced shortly after his death.
22. Cadena’s murder sparked an era of gang warfare within the California penal system.
23. The following year after his death, 31 prisoners were killed in tit-for-tat killings.
24. The carnage and animosity from his murder still exists 36 years after his death, as La Eme still has a “kill on sight” order for any member of Nuestra Familia.
25. Cadena was the basis for the 1992 movie “American Me,” in which, Montoya Santana, a character based on Cadena, was portrayed by Edward James Olmos.