New Mexican gang in Yakima County Jail

New Mexican gang in Yakima County Jail
YAKIMA, Wash. -- A new gang has infiltrated the Yakima County Jail. The Paisas have become a real problem for jail officers because they don't have a signature. That makes them harder to identify. Could a problem on the inside mean a problem on the outside for you?

Officers at the Yakima County Jail have seen Surenos, Nortenos, Bloods, Crips and White Supremacists for years. In the last two years, they started noticing a new gang.

"We starting seeing some inmate assaults and, of course, after assaults we have to do an investigation,” said Officer Billings. “When we start to hear you know it was a Paisa, then it's ok, what, who?"

Paisa is basically a Mexican gang that started out as the anti-gang. A group of people joined for protection against the gangs. That's how officers here say their membership grew.

"Somebody can come in who has no association with any gangs and they are getting ready to get targeted,” said Billings. “So, hey I'm a Pisa. So, we got to put them with the Pisas."

Officers said they've grown into a dangerous gang since starting in Yakima five years ago. Rennie Ortiz said he's been a Paisa for about 15 years ever since he was locked up.

"It just comes with your color,” he said. “If you're Hispanic, you can be Latino. You can be Mexican."

The problem officers have with identifying Paisas is there's no color or symbol associated with the gang. Ortiz said his only mark linking him to the gang is the color of his skin.


To get some perspective, KIMA asked a Sureno about the gang. We asked how Richard Roblez who claims Sureno would describe the Pisas.

"They're hard working people from Mexico," he said.

He said they are nothing for citizens to worry about, but not everyone agrees.

"I would say since they are into these activities inside the facility more than likely they are doing it on the outside," said officer Billings.

We checked to see how many crimes can be blamed on the Paisas around Yakima. Police said they don't have any record of the gang's activity outside of jail. However, that could be hard to determine because there is no specific identifying feature.