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Rodolfo Cadena
Died December 17, 1972(1972-12-17)
Chino, California, U.S.
Other names Cheyenne, CHY
Criminal status Dead; killed in prison

Rodolfo Cadena (c. 1943 – December 17, 1972) was a Mexican-American mob boss and legendary figure in the Mexican Mafia prison gang.


"Chy" Cadena was a wayward youth and a member of the "Varrio Viejo" Gang from Bakersfield, California. He was incarcerated at Deuel Vocational Institution after he and a childhood friend from the same street gang, "Richard Ruiz" who would become one of the founding members of "La EME", stabbed a Bakersfield man to death outside of the "Salon Juarez" dancehall in 1959. At the time of his conviction, Rudy was only 16 years old. While incarcerated, he earned the respect and admiration of the members of the Mexican Mafia ("La Eme") which was still in its development stage.

According to Chris Blatchford,

"By 1961, administrators at DVI, alarmed by the escalating violence, had transferred a number of the charter Eme members to San Quentin, hoping to discourage their violent behavior by intermingling them with hardened adult convicts. It didn't work. For example, the story goes that Cheyenne Cadena arrived on the lower yard and was met by a six-foot-five, 300-pound black inmate who planted a kiss on his face and announced this scrawny teenager would now be his 'bitch.' Chy returned a short time later, walked up to the unsuspecting predator, and stabbed him to death with a jailhouse knife, or shank. There were more than a thousand inmates on the yard. No witnesses stepped forward, and only one dead man entertained the idea that Cadena was anyone's bitch."[1]

Cadena and Joe "Pegleg" Morgan, who became his best friend and mentor, led the gang 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.

Cadena continued to run the Mafia's activities and began to look beyond the walls of prison, envisioning a statewide monopoly of crime. He struck an uneasy alliance with George Jackson and the Black Guerilla Family and became active in Latino political organizations like the Brown Berets. 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. In response, they 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 effectively greenlighting him. With no remaining influence in the Mexican Mafia, his importance in the eyes of the NF was diminished: he was now a target for retribution. Cadena could have saved himself by requesting Protective Custody, a move that would have shown weakness to the way of life he had fought and killed for. His fate effectively sealed, he chose instead to go out the way he had come in, fighting. On his arrival in Chino for the now sabotaged peace mission, he was taunted by the Nortenos and told his time would come. [2]

Death and afterward[edit]

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. On the morning of December 17, 1972, Cadena was asked if he wanted to leave his cell with the rest of the prisoners; rather than avoiding his fate and staying in his cell, he stepped onto the tier of his cell in "Palm Hall" at the Chino Reception center. He was stabbed repeatedly with shanks, and beat with a pipe by Familia assassins. [3] He was stabbed an estimated fifty times on the tier and thrown off a third story tier onto the concrete floor below and stabbed another twenty times. Cadena was subsequently buried at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield, California with an inscription reading, "Remembered by your mother and family."


Cadena's murder sparked an era of gang warfare within the California penal system. Over the next year the lives of 31 prisoners were lost in tit-for-tat killings. 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.

Cadena was the basis for the 1992 movie American Me, in which, Montoya Santana, a character based upon Cadena, was portrayed by Edward James Olmos. The Mexican Mafia, however, was enraged by certain parts of the movie, especially the portrayal of Santana being raped and a climax in which Santana is murdered by his own followers. Two of Olmos' consultants were subsequently killed and a plot to extort the director was uncovered.[4]


  1. ^ Chris Blatchford, The Black Hand; The Bloody Rise and Redemption of "Boxer" Enriquez, A Mexican Mob Killer, HarperCollins, 2008. Page 6.
  2. ^ Tony Rafael, The Mexican Mafia, Encounter Books, 2007. Page 283.
  3. ^ Tony Rafael, The Mexican Mafia, Encounter Books, 2007. Page 284.
  4. ^ Lombardi, John. New York Magazine, "Scenes from a Bad Movie Marriage." January 12, 1998.

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodolfo_Cadena — Please support Wikipedia.
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7 news items

La Opinión

La Opinión
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 07:49:09 -0700

La película “American Me” que en 1992 dirigió y protagonizó Edward James Olmos se basa en la vida de Rodolfo Cadena “Cheyene”, quien fue miembro de la Big Hazard y líder de La Mafia Mexicana. Manuel Luna “Rocky” y Charles Martínez “Charlie ...
Wed, 20 May 2015 08:45:00 -0700

En este mismo correo electrónico se observa que de este servicio tuvieron conocimientos diversos funcionarios delegacionales, entre ellos, Rodolfo Cadena Labrada coordinador de eventos adscrito a la Dirección General de Administración, a quien Javier ...


Sun, 06 Dec 2015 18:08:45 -0800

El elemento de la Policía Municipal, Gerardo Silverio Andrade, con grado de cabinero, reportó al agente del Ministerio Público Rodolfo Cadena, la localización de un hombre ejecutado con un disparo de arma de fuego, dando inicio al expediente ...


Tue, 16 Jun 2015 11:24:10 -0700

Las vidas de los famosos como la de Robin Williams, suelen ser historias a veces complejas que hablan de un camino al éxito anhelado por otros; en algunos casos sus muertes suelen ser trágicas por lo que el interés de sus fieles admiradores continúa.

El Sol de Yaquima

El Sol de Yaquima
Tue, 14 Jul 2009 18:28:45 -0700

Un hombre de Toppenish fue sentenciado a cadena perpetua el lunes antepasado por supuestamente haber violado a una mujer que buscaba trabajo en un huerto en Buena. Rodolfo Ramírez Tinajero espera su juicio en un caso similar, dónde fue acusado ...
El Tiempo Ecuador
Wed, 02 Mar 2011 22:03:12 -0800

Juramento El momento más emotivo fue cuando Rodolfo Cadena, comandante del Tercer Distrito de Policía tomó el juramento institucional, en el que los gendarmes al unísono respondieron su compromiso de hasta ofrendar la vida, por la seguridad de los ...
El Tiempo Ecuador
Sun, 17 May 2009 00:00:01 -0700

Sin embargo, Rodolfo Cadena, jefe provincial de la PJ, espera que la cooperativa entregue el listado de ciudadanos que viajaron el viernes y cuestiona el procedimiento de venta de boletos. El jefe policial sostiene que en la venta del tiquete no se ...

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