The founders of La Eme, including Rodolfo “Cheyenne” Cadena (front right).
Things became tense early on between me and Joker Mendoza, one of Cadena’s assassins. He was aggressive, walked with a chip on his shoulder, always tried to stress how important he was. Tiny Contreras, who was the leader of the assassination, had contempt for him, but always stressed to me how dangerous he was.
His prison blues were impeccable, razor sharp crease in the trousers, mirror shine on his shoes. When we first met he commented on my baggy trousers. “Can’t you afford nothing more stylish?” “I may not be stylish, “ I said, “but I won’t be spending the rest of my life in prison.” He shook his head in disdain.
The first time I saw Ramon Contreras he was walking past the library where I taught on Yard IVB, Maximum Security, at CCI Tehachapi. One of the inmates said to me, “That’s the meanest, toughest guy on the yard.”
I laughed. He was perhaps 5’ 4” His prison garb was oversized, he had a shaggy grey moustache and a shaggy gray head of hair and he shambled when he walked. He looked like a baggy-pants comedian in a vaudeville show. He had a sad clown face.
“He’s the meanest guy on the yard?”
“That’s Tiny Contreras. He was the lead assassin of Rodolfo Cadena.”