By Jose F. Sánchez
Madrid, Jul 26 (EFE).- “I have forgiven myself, I have paid the price,” says Javier, pseudonym for an ex-leader of the Madrid branch of the Latin Kings, one of the largest street and prison gangs in the world.
Like his compatriot Kevin, Javier has managed to escape the criminal world, one in which both became ‘kings’ in the organized crime gang after years of violence and bloodshed.
In a discussion with Efe, in which they asked to disguise their faces and tattoos to prevent them from being recognized, they tell us about their harsh experiences as members of the Latin Kings.
THE ENTRY AND ESCALATION
Javier and Kevin were young and alone when they arrived in Spain from South America, making them perfect prey for gangs, which they said they joined without even realizing.
Kevin was 15 when he arrived in Spain. With no friends, he would go to the park, where he met the men who would soon become his gang mates.
The young boy was struck by the respect these friends had for each other and quickly felt attracted to it, when he started receiving invites for member-only parties.
“They charm you to make it look like they don’t force you to enter the gang,” he said.
But what started as petty theft and assault jobs turned into a more bloodthirsty affair.