Los Tres Del Barrio – Chicano Militants framed in 1971 (Archive)

Accessed via: https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/workersvanguard/1974/0037_01_02_1974.pdf (fucking Sparts)



Police Agents Frame Up Chicano Militants

On July 27, 1971 three Chicano militants, now known as Los Tres del Barrio-Alberto Ortiz, Juan Ramon Fernandez and Rodolfo Pena Sanchez were arrested and charged with shooting and wounding federal police agent and provocateur Robert Canales, whom they had believed to be a heroin pusher. The three were associated with “La Casa de Carnalismo” (the House of Brotherhood), a radical Chicano community-organizing group then involved in an attempt to drive drug peddlers out of the Los Angeles housing project areas of Pico Gardens and Aliso through direct (and armed) confrontations. The Carnalismo group had resorted to vigilante-type actions to purge the barrio of the drug traffic which was thriving under police protection.

The government prosecution achieved a conviction of Los Tres with extremely heavy sentences of 10 years 12 prison for Ortiz, 25 years for Fernandez and 40 years for Sanchez. In fact, the case is a frame up of three political militants. The militants around the Casa de Carnalismo had been long-time activists in the Chicano movement, participating in the East Los Angeles high school student rebellions of the late 1960’s, the Chicano Moratorium and other activities in the Los Angeles and West Coast area. The group had been subjected to frequent police harassment, violence and infiltration by provocateurs as its activities became increasingly annoying to the extremely repressive paramilitary Los Angeles police apparatus. Last year federal agent Frank Martinez (of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Division of the Treasury Department) revealed that after becoming chairman of the Chicano Moratorium and a leading member of the Brown Berets (where he engaged in provocations such as parading around with a shotgun and leading a physical attack on Senator John Tunney) he had been instructed to infiltrate the Casa in order to discredit it and that its activities were being monitored in order to provoke just such an incident as occurred in July 1971. Another indication that the case was an attempt to paralyze the Casa de Carnalismo group was the fact that immediately after the shootout between Los Tres and Canales police entered the organization’s offices looking for two of the three defendants. The railroaded conviction of Los Tres confirmed the case to be a crude frame up. Actively hostile Judge Lawrence Lydick (a former law partner of Richard Nixon) refused to permit the defense to present a case on the basis of entrapment or self-defense. (Los Tres did not know at the time of the incident that Canales, alias “Bobby Parker, the pusher,” was a federal agent; therefore the charge of “shooting a federal agent” cannot be legally justified.) Judge Lydick continued to deny the pOlitical character of the case, “proving” this by refUSing to hear the testimony of federal agent Martinez and squashing all attempts by Los Trest lawyers to demonstrate that the three were in fact well-known political activists in the community. The jury was subjected to searches to give them the impression that Los Tres were highly dangerous criminals; s eve r a I supporters, witnesses and one of Los Tres’ lawyers were threatened with reprisals by the FBI. Bail had been set at $50,000 each, but it wasn’t until after Los Tres had been convicted, sentenced and on their way to separate prisons that this high sum could be raised, to be applied while Los Tres were appealing their convictions. The courts then refused to accept the bail, forCing a new round of hearings on the collateral behind the bail. Los Tres were finally released on November 7-9 and are now appealing the sentences meted out by Judge Lydick. While the Spartacist League is politically c r i tic a I of the community oriented tactics of La Casa de Carpalismo, we unconditionally defend all members of the working-class movement under attack by the government. A successful appeal of the Los Tres case will depend on a widespread outcry at this vicious frame up. Public cynicism about the government, and espeCially about the pOlice and their active involvement in the drug traffic, is at an all-time high. This sentiment must be tapped and turned into a massi ve protest.


Inquiries and financial support may be directed to: National Committee to Free Los Tres 4400 South Huntington Drive Los Angeles, California 90032

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