A convicted Mexican mafia hitman could be free from his California jail cell in weeks after local law enforcement agencies endorsed him for parole.
Former mobster Rene "Boxer" Enriquez earned high praise for his work as a snitch from the FBI, Los Angeles Police Department, and the district attorney's offices in LA, Orange and Ventura counties at a recent hearing.
It is now up to California Gov. Jerry Brown to decide whether he should be set free, despite the fact he is serving two life sentences for murder. A decision has to be made by Feb. 22.
This comes on the heels of a controversial appearance made by Enriquez at an event hosted by the LAPD in downtown Los Angeles, where he gave a crowd of about 125 people a firsthand insight about the inner-workings of the criminal enterprise. He was given a SWAT escort to the meeting.
Former Orange County Deputy District Attorney Rudy Lowenstein is not convinced allowing him to go free would be the correct decision.
"Boxer Enriquez is the most deviant, manipulative killer that I have ever encountered in 36 years as a DA first and then as a criminal defense lawyer," Lowenstein said.
A 150 page transcript of the hearing obtained by NBC4, which came with considerable redactions, quoted him as saying he works as an informant for law enforcement on a daily basis, a role he plans to continue in if he is freed.
"I know I have really good career lined up with law enforcement, he told the parole board," Enriquez said.
Enriquez was also candid when describing his own past offenses, admitting he was a "horrific individual who had little or no concern for human life." Enriquez is the subject of the book "The Black Hand: The Bloody Rise and Redemption of 'Boxer' Enriquez, a Mexican Mob Killer." He worked his way up from enforcer to shot caller for the organization known as La Eme before his arrest.
In 1989, he pleaded guilty in the slayings of a woman, whose body was found in a vacant lot, and a man, leading to the prison sentence. He suspected that the woman, 28, was stealing drugs from him and ordered her execution, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing court records. He then targeted a member of the Mexican Mafia, giving him an overdose of heroin and shooting him in the head, the Times reported, citing parole records.
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As well as being praised by law enforcement for his work, one letter from someone in the LA County Sheriff's Department suggested he was a suitable candidate for parole. The California Parole Board states Enriquez does not pose a threat to public safety and is suitable for parole. If he is freed he will have to register as a sex offender.
Brown's office has refused to be drawn on how the decision may turn out.
"We do not comment on pending parole reviews. The governor has until February 22nd to act," a spokesman said.