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Association Ñeta
Founding location Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico
Years active 1970s - present
Territory Puerto Rico, over 30 states in the United States Primarily in the East Coast, Canada, Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Spain (Europe)
Ethnicity Mainly Puerto Rican, but also known to have other Hispanic ethnicities, whites, blacks and Asians.
Membership 35,000
Allies Latin Kings, Zulu Nation, People Nation, Bloods
Rivals Crips, MS-13, Surenos, Nortenos, Trinitarios, Mexican Mafia, Nuestra Familia, Aryan Brotherhood, Dominicans Don't Play

The Ñeta Association (Spanish language Asociación Ñeta, or simply Ñeta) is the name of the worst gang that began in the Puerto Rico prison system and spread to the United States. Although Puerto Rico has hundreds of small street gangs claiming its poorer neighborhoods, Ñetas is by far the largest and most dominant, controlling the illegal drug trade on the island. The gang claims about 15,000 members in Puerto Rico, 10,000 in the United States & nearly 10,000 in other parts of the world.


The Ñeta Association was founded by a man by the name of Carlos Torres Irriarte, also known to others as "La Sombra" ("The Shadow"). It began in the late 1970s when several pro-independence political prisoners were incarcerated in the Maximum Security Prison called Oso Blanco located in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.[1] He professed to believing that the rights of inmates were being violated by prison officials and vicious gangs. They formed as a mutual protection group in the late 70's, ostensibly to improve living conditions that were being violated by guards and other inmates and defend themselves against another prison gang called "G'27" ("Group 27"), or the "Insects" ("Insectos"). The G27s called the ñetas "Worms" ("Gusanos").

In the early 1980s, the Ñetas became the most dominant gang in the Oso Blanco prison after fighting both opposing gangs and crooked correctional officers by intimidating both correctional officers and rival gangs. The majority of the inmates were fascinated by Irriarte's way of thinking and did all they could do for the Association.

In an act of revenge against the Ñetas & Irriarte, the leader of the G27's - along with the help of paid-off authorities - plotted Irriarte's murder. They were to set him up and assault him when he left the watchful eyes of his followers on a routine walk to and from the prison chapel that he would make occasionally.

On the afternoon of March 30, 1981, Irriarte, who was accompanied by an officer (who was in on it) was attacked on his return from the chapel which was located just west of the Recreational Yard. He was stabbed in the chest, stomach & back and then shot in the abdomen by a .38 caliber pistol. He was pronounced dead sometime after sunset.

During the investigation of the murder of Irriarte, the correctional authorities found out that he was probably betrayed by his Lieutenants. His Lieutenants wanted to get into the business of drug trafficking in the prisons which was opposed by Irriarte. After the burial of their leader on March 30, 1981, the Ñetas exploded into an all out rampage and took over several wings of the prison compound. Rumor has it that the majority of the ñetas were drug addicts and in the drug trafficking business so almost every riot would end with an assault on the prison's pharmacy where they apprehended all types of narcotic medications.

They first showed their power and brutal force to everyone when they retaliated against the G27's leader "Manota" in retaliation for the "Hit" he helped plan against Irriarte. After a few days of digging and chiseling their ways through the prison walls with spoons and their bare hands, they broke through the wall of "Manotas" prison cell where members of the Ñetas stabbed him over 150 times and cut his body into 84 pieces. There were rumors that certain parts of his body were sent via mail to selected people: a severed finger was mailed to his mother, his ankle and foot were sent to the warden of the institution, and his eyes were sent to G27's 2nd in Command. The rest of his body was never recovered.

The news soared and the media depicted the story as a hostile takeover. Used to their advantage, they used the media coverage as a means to send out messages to other members in different prisons across the island. Their message was clear: They wanted justice and they meant business. They warned the administration and let them know that if their needs weren't met about improving the living situations within the facilities, there would be bloodshed and an all out war. By the middle of 1984, their numbers multiplied excessively. They took over 7 major prison facilities across the island and ruled them with an iron fist.

Until today, they still completely run a good amount of the prisons and work as the Administrators when sentencing convicted felons. They denounce and repent any sexual offenders, pedophiles and abusers & exile them to solitary confinement where they do not allow them to co-exist with the rest of the prison population.
It became such a force that the P.R.C.D imposed that their prisons be segregated imposing that the Ñetas have their own Buildings across their facilities and the rivals share another.

Reportedly in the late-80s, the association was involved in the cult of the "Holy Death" and performed several ritualistic murders at the Oso Blanco State Prison. In 1988 they branched out & expanded into the east coast of the United States and the forefront of Canada. There they based their roots from Puerto Rico and continued to branch out as far as South Florida. Forming into separate Factions or "Chapters", they were constructed into an almost mafia-like umbrella, where there was a President, Vice President and lower hierarchy instated.

In the late 1990s, there were confirmed reports that Joanna Pimentel, known as "La Madrina," had been appointed council and leader of the New York City chapters. In 2001, Pimentel was convicted in federal court in Brooklyn, New York of ordering a gang-related killing in 1995 and sentenced to life in prison.[2][3] She is currently being held at the Federal Correctional Institution, Danbury, a federal prison in Connecticut.[4]

Their rivals vary throughout territories. Because of their structure and form of moral breakdown they are usually in alliance with People Nation. Crips & Folks are usually on top of the list, as well as D.P (Dominican Power), D.D.P (Dominicans Don't Play), MS13, Los Sólidos, Grupo 31, and their lifelong sworn enemy G27 (Grupo 27). History shows that in certain areas of NYC they were even at war with the Latin Kings where the rivalry spread as far as Ecuador & Spain. Recent reports say the Ñetas have ended their problems with the Latin Kings and Bloods becoming allies around the New York City area. Reports also show the same for Spain, where the war between the Ñetas & Latin Kings claimed many lives in Madrid.[citation needed] One way to identify members of the Ñetas are by the beads they wear around their neck. Their rosary styled necklace usually embodies a cross and are worn with the colors white, black, red. Another way is their clothing: they wear mainly white or the colors of the Puerto Rican Flag (red, white and blue, where sometimes blue is replaced by black). A white bandanna is also a good way to identify members. It's usually represented as their "flag" They may also be identified by using the letters "ÑDC" ("Ñeta De Corazon" - Nyeta From The Heart).


The Ñeta have a hierarchy that includes a Maximum Leader and council which branch out to State Officials and council and then Chapter Officials and council. They fall in a Pyramid as President, Vice president, Counselor, Moderator, Secretary, Vocal. Ñetas refer to each other as "hermanitos" and "hermanitas" (brothers and sisters).

Recent reports[edit]

Robert Walker of the website GangsOrUs.com has said of the Ñetas, "they use the facade of a cultural organization and see themselves as oppressed people who are unwilling to be governed by the United States".

Today, Ñeta organizations can be found throughout the prison systems of Puerto Rico, the United States, and Ontario. In 2009 they were reported as having up to 6,000 members in the North East Coast of the U.S. alone[5] And to almost 13,000 in South America and thousands more worldwide. The Ñetas mainly operate out of the Tri-state area. In New York, they have founding chapters in Kings County, Queens County, Nassau County and Suffolk County. Also having strong legions throughout the New Jersey area including Hudson County, Passaic County and Essex County. They are known to have over more than 30 chapters in The Garden State alone.[6]

On June 3, 2003, seven leaders of the Ñeta gang were arrested in Long Island,New York for the stabbing and murder of two MS-13 members. [2] On May 6, 2009, a Ñeta drug den was discovered and busted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, in the Queensbridge Housing Projects, located in Long Island City Queens. 156 Kilograms of Cocaine and 487 pounds of Marijuana were found in the apartment complex located on 41st Street And Vernon Blvd. 2009- Ñetas have been reported to have major conflict with former allies, The Bloods, and a more severe conflict with the MS-13 . 2010- Recent reports say Ñetas have been seen operating and connecting with the Bloods and Latin Kings. Ñetas are still having conflict and dangerous altercations with MS-13 and DDP.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ñetas aclaran sobre España". primerahora.com. 2008-06-10. Retrieved 2009-04-18. [dead link]
  2. ^ Tremlett, Giles (2006-10-05). "Row erupts in Spain over treatment of Latin Kings". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  3. ^ Claffey, Mike (May 29, 2001). "GODMOTHER FIGHTS RAP: Calls her conviction in gang slay a setup". The New York Daily News. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Inmate Locator: Joanna Pimentel". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "World: Special Report: History of rivals". The Observer. 2006-10-15. p. 39. 
  6. ^ [1]

http://www.cicad.oas.org/Crimen_Organizado/ESP/Actualidad/Pandillas%20en%20USA.pdf dead link

External links[edit]