Asociacion Ñeta

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The Ñeta Association (Spanish language Asociacion Ñeta, or simply Ñeta) is the name of a Puerto Rican 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 40,000 members in Puerto Rico, 20,000 in the United States and nearly 30,000 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. 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 1970'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 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). Today, Ñeta organizations can be found throughout the prison systems of Puerto Rico, the United States, and Ontario, Canada. In 2009 they were reported as having up to 6,000 members in the North East Coast of the U.S. alone and 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.