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Notorious prison gang investigator under investigation

February 4, 2012

by Kendra Castaneda

California’s state prisons, especially those built in the most recent prison construction boom, are located in remote, isolated parts of the state. Far off the beaten path, they get little or no news coverage, and visitors must travel for hours from even the closest city.

Feb. 4 update: Independent investigators visit Calipatria

Progress in the Velarde vs. Duarte case: The court ordered CDCR to allow Attorney General staff, independent lawyers and experts inside Calipatria State Prison on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, into Facility B for cell inspections and to inspect elsewhere throughout the prison. All the inmates were watching them very carefully.

There’s no need for families and supporters to worry. The inspectors were sent to the prison; they were sent to help. They do not work with CDCR and they do not work with the prison officials. They are going above and beyond their usual role to get justice for the inmates who have been abused and mistreated in some form or another by IGI E. Duarte.

 Jan. 28 update: Court gives green light

Many inmates at Calipatria State Prison have agreed to come forward and testify in court against Calipatria Institutional Gang Investigator (IGI) E. Duarte, for the courts have officially granted a trial. Not only will it be for the Velarde case, but the United States District Court will be hearing from inmates who have either been victims or witnesses to IGI Duarte using excessive force on an inmate, falsifying documentation on an inmate or planting evidence on an inmate to “validate” him as a “gang member.”

Testimony will limited to misconduct by Duarte that prisoners have witnessed; no other testimony will be allowed. Yes, there will be media attention, but none will focus directly on the inmates – only on the information they make public.

Again, if anyone wants to come forward about IGI E. Duarte’s misconduct and expose him, not only will it help expose the false charges, false validations and false segregation many men have endured at Calipatria ASU (Administrative Segregation Unit), but it could also help expose for the first time an IGI purposely planting evidence and falsifying documentation to get an inmate validated and sent to the SHU. It could possibly open the doors toward ending the corrupt CDCR validation process and help many more men in the SHUs and AdSegs throughout California. Contact me at


Original article, posted Jan. 17: Calipatria State Prison Institutional Gang Investigator (IGI) E. Duarte is currently under investigation by the United States District Court due to a complaint of excessive force on an inmate and complaints of falsifying legal documentation and planting evidence on inmates.

After IGI Duarte broke his leg, Harold Velarde had the courage to file a complaint with the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. It was originally denied, but in October 2011, the court ordered the case to be investigated.

Another prisoner, Jesus Macias, reports he has proof that IGI Duarte “fabricated evidence and lied in every report.” We are now calling for more evidence of Duarte’s wrongdoing.

If you know anybody who has witnessed Institutional Gang Investigator E. Duarte at Calipatria State Prison use excessive force, falsify documentation or plant evidence on an inmate, especially if it resulted in the prisoner being “validated” as a “prison gang member,” or if you know an inmate who has been targeted by IGI Duarte, please contact me as soon as possible at

Jesus Macias: IGI Duarte fabricated evidence that ‘validated’ me as a gang member

This letter from Jesus Macias, currently in Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) at Calipatria State Prison, describes his experience with IGI Duarte. It was written to me on Sept. 25, 2011, one day before the California statewide hunger strike called by prisoners in the Pelican Bay State Prison SHU resumed. Prisoners at Calipatria joined in that hunger strike, and continued to strike after nearly all the 12,000 prisoners participating had stopped.

Calipatria is a four-hour drive from Los Angeles. The scorching heat of the Mojave Desert is too much for many older cars. This makes the trip dangerous for visitors, who are mostly women, many with children eager to visit daddy.
“Dear Kendra,

“I first like to thank you and all the good people helping us out to bring our situation here in Calipatria ASU (Administrative Segregation Unit) and all SHUs (Security Housing Units) in California to light!

“My name is Jesus Macias, CDC E-14338. I am currently housed in Calipatria ASU and I’ve been serving a life-plus-five-year sentence for attempted murder in 1988. I was 18 years old at the time. I came into the prison system at a young age, so I was young, dumb and got myself into a lot of trouble.

“After my last SHU term in 2000, I realized this is not a life for me. I started programing, going to school, picking up my grades and getting a job, picking up a trade, and I’ve been programming ever since with NO ‘115 disciplinary actions’ at all! I am what an official would call a model inmate.

“I had been going to my board hearings and they told me I had a chance to go home to my family. Well, now that dream is shattered.

“On Jan. 11, 2011, at 1:00 a.m., I was awakened by institutional gang investigator officers yelling at me not to move and to follow their directions. After being cuffed, I was left in the shower while the IGI officers searched my cell.

“After two hours I asked IGI Officer E. Duarte, ‘Why are you searching my cell?’ He said it was routine. I asked him, ‘Did you leave a cell search slip?’ Looking upset at me, he said, ‘I’ll give it to you right now. Wait!’

“When he gave it to me, he said, ‘I’m going to get you!’ I asked him, ‘What do you mean?’ He didn’t answer me and left. Then, on Jan. 25, 2011, I was picked up by who else but IGI Officer E. Duarte for a validation package. All the so-called evidence they had on me was found that day, on Jan. 11, 2011.

“But I have that cell search slip IGI E. Duarte gave me, and there was no contraband or gang material ever found in my cell that morning! I wrote my rebuttal and 602 appeal telling them this IGI Officer E. Duarte fabricated evidence and lied in every report. I have his own cell search slip with his signature.

“They didn’t care and rubber stamped me all the way through OCS/SSU (Office of Correctional Safety Special Services Unit) and validated me! Since being back here in Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU), I found more inmates with similar situations with IGI E. Duarte. The sad thing about all this is nothing’s being done about it by their own supervisor, Warden Leland McEwen, who overlooks them.

“But I have that cell search slip IGI E. Duarte gave me, and there was no contraband or gang material ever found in my cell that morning! They didn’t care and rubber stamped me all the way through OCS/SSU (Office of Correctional Safety Special Services Unit) and validated me!”

“As for the conditions here in Calipatria ASU, they are the worst I have ever experienced within these 23 years in prison. Most of the time our food is cold and small portions, the staff does not clean the tier and it gets so nasty that we have to purposely flood the tier with water and shampoo just to try and keep it clean.

“As for clothes exchange, it’s rare if we get that. As for your basic supplies – toothpaste, toothbrush or simple things like a spoon – they are always short or they say they just don’t have any! There are boxes on all the exit doors blocking all the exits!

Calipatria State Prison covers 1,227.5 acres lying 184 feet below sea level in the Mojave Desert near the Salton Sea and the Mexican border, the hottest area in North America.
“There are people here waiting for transfers going on three years and some have been back here going on four years in “temporary” administrative segregation waiting to go to the SHU. The things that we are asking for is for someone to really look at our false validations and receiving our TVs etc.

“That’s why I am hunger striking for my freedom out of isolation and being treated humanely, not tortured!

“Thank you for hearing me and giving me a minute of your time. God bless. – Jesus Macias

“P.S. Here is a copy of my cell search slip. There was nothing ever found, no contraband or gang material, which IGI E. Duarte says he found. I am just lucky I kept my receipt; it’s the only proof I have that he fabricated evidence and lied in every report. He says he found gang material that morning, Jan. 11, 2011, when my cell search slip says different.

“I would really like if you could post my letter out to the media so they can have a brief idea of what has been going on in Calipatria State Prison Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU).”

Harold Velarde: IGI Duarte broke my leg

Harold Anthony Velarde filed his complaint, Case No. 11-CV-0287-AJB-CAB, against IGI Duarte on Feb. 10, 2011. Initially denied, the judge has now ordered that Duarte be investigated.

Families with loved ones locked up in Calipatria are often given inadequate or inaccurate information when they call in preparation for a visit. After the 10-hour drive to Calipatria from the Bay Area, families have been turned away – told only after they arrived that visiting was cancelled.
Velarde filed his complaint under Civil Rights Act 42 U.S.C. 1983. Known as the Civil Rights Act of 1871, passed to protect the rights of enslaved Africans who had won their freedom during the Civil War only a few years earlier, it states in full:

“Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.”

Velarde asserts in his complaint that defendant E. Duarte, who resides in Imperial, was acting under color of law “while performing his duties as security and investigations at Calipatria State Prison.” Velarde says Duarte “violated my Eighth Amendment rights [by] use of excessive force.”

Under “Supporting Facts,” Velarde, who is representing himself in this case, wrote:

“On Oct. 6, 2009, at Calipatria State Prison a riot occurred between Mexican inmates and some C/Os [correctional officers]. After the incident was contained and all inmates were restrained, from my cell door, inside my cell I saw C/O Magdaleno hitting a prone, restrained inmate in the back of the head with a pepper spray can. I yelled for the C/O to stop and my door was approached and I was told they’d be back for me. About two hours later two C/Os came to my door and ordered me to cuff up. The one with the spray pointed was Black and Duarte was the one who cuffed me.

“I comply with the C/O and cuff through the food porthole. After I’m cuffed, behind my back, my door opens and I’m ordered to back out and face the wall. C/O Duarte grabs my neck while I’m facing the wall and slams my face into it. I turn away from the wall ‘cause of the surprise and C/O Duarte puts his hands on my shoulders and pushes down with all his weight.

“My femur then snaps due to mobility issues from an old gunshot wound. I jump to the ground on my backside and tell the C/O, ‘You broke my leg.’ He responds, ‘I don’t give a fu-k.’ As soon as medical came, I was escorted to the hospital for surgery. They placed a steel plate aside my femur.

“C/O Duarte grabs my neck while I’m facing the wall and slams my face into it. I turn away from the wall ‘cause of the surprise and C/O Duarte puts his hands on my shoulders and pushes down with all his weight. My femur then snaps … They placed a steel plate aside my femur.”

“C/O Duarte never explains the gash under my eye from slamming my face into the wall in his reports. My injuries were documented by a lieutenant and sergeant with a video recorder. There are also so many witnesses.”

Velarde is requesting damages in the amount of $250,000 and punitive damages in the sum of $150,000. He wants a trial by jury.

Kendra Castaneda is a prisoner human rights activist with a loved one currently incarcerated in the Calipatria State Prison ASU (Administrative Segregation Unit). She can be reached at She asks anyone with information about Institutional Gang Investigator (IGI) E. Duarte to contact her right away.


6 thoughts on “Notorious prison gang investigator under investigation

  1. @carltoersbijns

    Not saying he is the one but there is always at least one rogue dirty or abusive cop among the bunch influencing others how to act and taking the lead with this type of bullying and getting away with it because of the code of silence.. PS somebody up above created this personality and endorsed its behavior.. they don't just appear and do this, they are groomed and selected for such roles as a "punisher" and a deeper probe will reveal incidents of tacit approval and "looking the other way" allowing this to develop in the culture breeding contempt and abuse. The justification for doing this in such a manner is 1. they can't get the goods on their target 2. intimidate others 3. gain confidential information through coersive and cruel methods……in order to run a safe and secure prison unit thus they sacrifice their ethics and professionalism to please the ultimate admin that seeks results and total control through whatever means required. This is an international strategy to control the population

    1. Robokop

      Shane Whitehead, a Boone County, Illinois, Sheriff’s deputy corrections sergeant posted these comments, about blacks and females, in the website, under the profile name of coshane220

      “In my area, being a black man or a woman (black or white) is an added benefit. It’s very hard to get hired on at the bigger departments around here if you are a white male! I’m not bitter, (I don’t have to be) thats just the reality. Heck, the department heads will evencome out and say it if they are in the right mood!”

  2. @carltoersbijns

    If you want to know the anatomy of a setup for STG or any other purpose write me at and I will explain it to you from the admin point of view and give you insight on the process.. It's more common than you think… For those who don't believe this, wake up and smell the coffee,, cops do it all the time to get the "goods" on whoever is in their sights and it might be you the next time they pull you over or stop you with a "probable cause" idea they created.. The good old days of good cops are being becoming more rare and not blaming every cop but today, you have to be careful who takes care of you out there

  3. supporter

    sounds like Ely State Prison (and hdsp also), Nevada, where the Nevada NDOC "old boys club" terrorize prisoners too…

  4. K Williams

    This is quite typical – utterly rampant throughout the prison system. There are more SHU cases than not, that exist because a C/O, for whatever reason, has felt the need to "punish" the prisoners. SHUs are not being used for what they were originally designed. And because the cost to taxpayers doubles for each individual being in the Hole, you would think that it would be looked into more closely. But nothing in prison is looked into closely (unless the public makes a loud enough fuss) because the cover-up and gang mentality isn't among the inmates, but rather among the staff, all the way up to Sacramento. A book called "The Green Wall" was published a year or two ago, written by an X-C/O (and inspector) who now fears for his life. That book is about this very thing, and yet it still continues, albeit, on a more sly level. Prison is uncivilized and has always been so. (See There is a better way. It's called Restorative Justice. Retributive "justice" has seen no progress whatsoever.

  5. Johnson

    Thank you Kendra for bringing these matters to light. Really, I feel I have no power. My cousin is housed at the Corcoran Prsion H-24449. He was beaten up on 9-12-12. Now they are trying to associate him a muslim, with gang activity. My cousin has experienced verbal and physical threats, mail tampering, false document charges, stolen and disgarded personal papers that were in his cell. Ironically, their pattern is the inmate is in most cases sent out of the cell when it is searched. B119054 is his case number. The Court admitted it erred and sentenced him 37yrs to life for a Kidnapping charge that he did not commit because of prior offenses. I am no lawyer. I need direction and help.


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