Public Enemy Number One



    PEN1 Tattoos II.jpg
    Status: Active
    AKA: PDS, PEN1, PEN1 Skins, PEN1 Death Squads, PENI, Peni Death Squad
    Formed: mid-1980s
    Areas of Operation: United States; Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada
    Headquarters: Orange County, California
    Ideology: Social (White Supremacist)
    Group: 350-400 members
    Leader: Donald Reed "Popeye" Mazza
    Affiliates: Aryan Brotherhood, La Mirada Punks, Nazi Low Riders, Norwalk Skins, Southern California Skinheads


    Organizational History

    Public Enemy Number One (PEN1) is a white supremacist skinhead, prison-based gang that emerged in Southern California in the mid-1980s.  The group was formed in Orange County by young white supremacists that were active in the white power music movement in California.  The youth hoped to imitate Nazi skinhead groups in Europe and other socialist organizations in the U.S.  In fact, the name was based on the British punk band, Rudimentary Peni.  While the skinhead culture was influential to members in the ‘80s, individuals began assimilating characteristics and culture more common of white supremacist prison gang members as PEN1 groups grew in the California Department of Corrections facilities.  They often act as foot soldiers for larger, more established groups such as the Aryan Brotherhood (AB). Originally, the AB turned to the Nazi Low Riders to do their bidding, although after a concerted effort by federal officials to interrupt their communications in prison, the larger white supremacist prison gang began turning to PEN1. This relationship was solidified after PEN1 leader, Donald Reed "Popeye" Mazza, was inducted into the AB in 2005.[1]

    Since 2000, the group’s membership has grown considerably, with increasing roles in drug-related criminal activity, as well as their violent attacks against fellow prisoners, competitors in the narcotics production and trade, or minorities.  Members have been referred to as “needle Nazis” because of their heavy use of illegal drugs.  They can often be identified by their white power tattoos, including images depicting the words “PENI1,” “PDS,” or “737,” which represents PDS (PEN1 Death Squad) on a telephone key pad.

    The gang still poses a significant legal threat, with its rates of criminal activity increasing, as well as posing a threat to law enforcement efforts to decrease white supremacist activity. In late 2010, 34 white supremacists were charged with extortion, murder, and drug-related crimes after a multi-agency federal investigation dubbed "Operation Stormfront" led to the infiltration of PEN1 and other gangs. The federal charges were based upon the sale of illegal arms and methamphetamines from PEN1 members to undercover federal agents over the course of two years.[2] 


    Much of PEN1’s unstructured hierarchy relies on group members’ experience and the amount of respect they receive from fellow members.  Those individuals who are highly respected by the leader, Mazza, and other top-tier constituents make leadership decisions concerning membership or organizational changes. 


    The vast majority of funding for the organization is attained through the sale and trafficking of methamphetamines and heroine, burglary, identity theft, as well as other criminal means. Wives and/or girlfriends of group members are often expected to work to provide income to their incarcerated significant others.  They also often engage in criminal activity, and provide means to shelter PEN1 members who are hiding from authorities.  Authorities believe that women members are crucial to PEN1’s success as they facilitate communication between incarcerated members, and have a greater ability to engage in criminal activity without detection because they can more easily hide their gang affiliation.[3]


    Having a significant role in the drug business, specifically with methamphetamine, PEN1 members have a strong connection to violence, both towards rival gangs as well as innocent bystanders.  Even though the group espouses a white supremacist ideology, they are more focused on monetary gain and the power struggle between rival factions.  In addition to drug-related criminal activities, individuals have also engaged in violent crimes, including assault, conspiracy to commit murder, and murder.  The group is not only a threat to law enforcement officials inside and outside of prison, but also to civilians who may become victims of white collar crimes such as fraud, counterfeiting, and identity theft.  In 2006, 67 PEN1 members were arrested in Orange County as a result of a “hit list” having been identified by authorities; the list included names of a local prosecutor and several police officers.  Members also target known sex offenders in prison, people identified as snitches, and rival gang members.


     PEN1 Member IV.jpg

    Michael Lamb, PEN1 member, was sentenced to death in August 2008 after killing a fellow member of the white supremacist gang, as well as the attempted murder of a police officer in Anaheim in 2002. His accomplice, Jacob Rump (pictured below), was sentenced to a life in prison. [4]

      PEN1 Member.jpg

    Billy Joe Johnson, member of PEN1, is currently on death row in California for killing five people in separate incidents.[5] 

    PEN1 Tattoos.jpg

    Various tattoos on PEN1 members and affiliates.[6]

     PEN1 Member III.jpg

    PEN1 member, Jacob Rump, was sentenced to a life in prison after killing a fellow member and attempting to kill a police officer in Anaheim in 2002. His accomplice, Michael Lamb (pictured above), was sentenced to death.[7]

     PEN1 Member VI.jpg

    PEN1 "boss," Wayne Jason Marshall, arrested in December 2010 as part of ATF-run "Operation Stormfront" in Orange County.[8]


     PEN1 Map.gif

    Map depicting the spread of PEN1 members and activity over the past three decades, especially following their pact with the Aryan Brotherhood.[1]


    1. White supremacist gang gaining clout. (2007, March 5). MSNBC. Retrieved from [1]
    2. Serna, J. (2010, December 16). Three locals charged in white supremacist case. Daily Pilot. Retrieved from [2]
    3. Anti-Defamation League. (2007, January 17). Public Enemy Number 1: California’s growing racist gang. Retrieved from [3]
    4. Moxley, R. S. (2008, August 22). Death official for PEN1 white supremacist killer. OC Weekly. Retrieved from [4]
    5. Moxley, R. S. (2009, November 23). Judge to Costa Mesa white supremacist: 'You shall suffer the death penalty.' OC Weekly. Retrieved from [5]
    6. Public Enemy Number One (PENI). (n.d.). White Prison Gangs - Gang Identification Task Force. Retrieved from [6]
    7. Moxley, R. S. (2007, October 5). PENI gangster won't see freedom again. OC Weekly. Retrieved from [7]
    8. Moxley, R. S. (2010, December 16). Cops: OC white power gang 'disrupted' in undercover sting. OC Weekly. Retrieved from [8]



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