Olmos Was on Mafia Hit List, Report Says

His American Me angered L.A. gangsters

By Marcus Errico Oct 24, 1996 8:15 PMTags
Edward James Olmos is a marked man. The prison-based gang called the Mexican Mafia, apparently angered by the actor's 1992 film American Me, has extorted money and property from the activist actor, according to Thursday's Los Angeles Times.

The allegations surfaced in a federal racketeering case against reputed Mexican Mafia members. This is the first time Olmos was explicitly named as a target. Gangsters are being accused of using murder, intimidation and extortion to control drug trafficking in Southern California, the Times says.

The actor feared for his life following the release of American Me--he directed and starred in the brutal tale, which showed scenes of a fictional Mexican Mafia don sodomized and murdered by his own men. Three consultants on the film were slain execution style. Gang members marked Olmos as the fourth victim, calling him "fair game," the Times reports. In exchange for his life and protection for his family, lawyers say Olmos might have paid off the gang.

Olmos also had a lawsuit brought against him in 1993 by the gang's godfather, who said a character in the film bore too striking a resemblance to him. Although the suit was dismissed, Olmos reportedly offered the man's wife a $5,000 settlement offer. Other gangsters said Olmos unfairly profited by using members as technical advisors.

The Mexican Mafia, known on the streets as Eme, was founded in the 1950s in East Los Angeles and currently has about 1,000 members.

While the actor declined to comment on the charges today, he told police in 1993 that he thought there was a contract on his life. He even tried to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Today's report says the extortion spanned a three-year period.

"These people don't tell you they're going to do it to you, man," Olmos told a reporter at the time of the slayings. "They just murder. Trust me."