LAS VEGAS (March 2016) – On Tuesday, March 29 at 7 p.m., The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, will host a provocative and eye-opening Courtroom Conversation: “Who Controls Our Prisons?” Courtroom Conversations are the Museum’s ongoing series of moderated panel discussions revealing special insights into the history of Las Vegas, the Mob and law enforcement. Each Courtroom Conversation features prominent speakers, including authors, scholars and other high-profile public figures.

“Who Controls Our Prisons?” will be a wide-ranging panel discussion about the evolution of organized crime in U.S. prisons. It will feature Robert S. Marquez, an authority on prison gangs and former agent with the California Department of Corrections, and Richard Valdemar, retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy and internationally known expert on L.A. gangs, the Mexican Mafia and other prison gangs.

In addition to these panelists, the presentation will include excerpts from an exclusive interview with a former member of the Mexican Mafia, conducted by The Mob Museum.

Tickets for “Who Controls Our Prisons?” are $25 per person; Museum Members receive a 10 percent discount. To reserve, click here.

About Robert S. Marquez

Marquez began his career with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in 1986 as a correctional officer. During his first assignment to the California Correctional Institution, Marquez became aware of prison gangs’ influence on not only the prison setting, but also street gangs and their members. He learned about everything from prison gangs’ organizational structures, to the significance of their tattoos, methodologies, allies and enemies, rules governing their conduct and strategies of indoctrination and recruitment of their followers and new members.

While a correctional sergeant at Pelican Bay State Prison in the early 2000s, Marquez was given the assignment of institutional gang investigator and security squad lieutenant. During this three-year assignment, Marquez conducted extensive investigations into the gang status of inmates resulting in more than 300 prison gang validations of prison gang members, associates and drop-outs. With the assistance of his staff, Marquez developed a gang management strategy known as the “short-corridor,” which more effectively utilized the physical plant design. This strategy resulted in diminished gang communications inside the prison and with outside street gangs, as well as an inability to prospect, mentor and create new members. Ultimately, this strategy caused dozens of prison gang members to leave the gangs and become cooperators with law enforcement.

While with the Redding Police Department in the mid-2000s, Marquez developed and implemented the gang management strategy known as “Strike Teams,” whereby Marquez would select staff from across the state to assist him identifying prison gang members and gang structure in order to provide up-to-date training on gangs to the local prison staff.

Marquez has produced training videos, spoken at law enforcement conferences, served as a training instructor and on state and regional boards and has testified as a gang expert in several trials. In 2012, Marquez was deputized as a deputy U.S. Marshal.

About Richard Valdemar

An internationally known expert in both traditional and non-traditional gangs, Richard Valdemar retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 2004. For most of his 33 years with the LASD he was involved in combatting Los Angeles gangs. For the last 20 years, he was assigned to the Detective Division, Major Crimes Bureau. In 1977-78 he was assigned to the DEA Task Force and later to the U.S. Marshals, in the “Doc Holiday – Ray Browning” federal drug conspiracy case against the leaders of the Black Guerrilla Family (BGF). For more than 12 years he was part of the Federal Metropolitan Gang Task Force, cross designated as an FBI agent targeting the Mexican Mafia prison gang. Since 1985 he was a member of the California (Prison) Gang Task Force. He was the “gang expert” in the RICO prosecutions of the Mexican Mafia in 1995, 1997 and 1999.

Valdemar has been a regular law enforcement trainer and instructor for several groups, including the LASD Advanced Officers Gang School and California Gang Investigator’s Association. Valdemar has given expert testimony before the California Senate Hearing Committee, the County and the Federal Grand Jury and in numerous Federal, Superior and Municipal Court proceedings.

He has been featured in several training broadcasts and supervised the real Hispanic and African-American gang members used in the Michael Jackson music video “Beat It.”  He was a technical advisor for the movies “Drug Wars – The Kiki Camerena Story” and “A Man Apart” starring Vin Diesel and Lorenz Tate. In 2006 he was featured on the History Channel for segments on “Military Policemen in Combat” and the “History of the Aryan Brotherhood” prison gang. He is the technical advisor for the “Gangland” series on the History Channel. He was also featured on Fox News Channel national broadcast “American Gangs: Ties to Terror?”  with Newt Gingrich, and segments for MSNBC Scarborough Country and Fox News Hannity & Colmes on the subjects of “Gangs in the Military” and “Gangs and Illegal Immigration”.

Current projects include writing a gang blog for the Police Magazine web site on gangs ( and working on books about the early days of the OSS gang unit, Terrorism, Police Gang Training, and several motion picture projects.  He is an active volunteer in several civic and police organizations and continues to pursue activities to benefit Law Enforcement and the American people.


The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, is a world-class destination in downtown Las Vegas dedicated to the thrilling story of organized crime and law enforcement. The Museum presents unbelievable stories about the Mob, its impact on Las Vegas history and unique imprint on the world. True stories of Mob history are brought to life in an eye-opening style via interactive exhibits, high-tech theater presentations and nearly 1,000 authentic artifacts, the largest collection of Mob and law enforcement memorabilia under one roof. Since opening in 2012, The Mob Museum has accumulated numerous accolades, including being named one of the “Best Places to Travel in 2015” by Travel + Leisure Magazine, “A Must for Travelers” by The New York Times, one of “20 Places Every American Should See” by Fox News and Budget Travel magazine, “9 Reasons to Visit Las Vegas” by CNNgo, a finalist for the “Best Wider World Project Award,” by the British Guild of Travel Writers and “Best Museum” by Nevada Magazine. Admission is $23.95 for adults ages 18 and over with special pricing for online purchase, children, seniors, military, law enforcement, Nevada residents, and teachers. The Museum is open daily; visit the website for up-to-date operating hours. For more information, call (702) 229-2734 or visit Connect on Facebook at or Twitter @TheMobMuseum.