Santa Maria Skinheads
Santa Maria Skinheads (SMSH) is a white street gang active in the Santa Maria Bay area. The gang uses the 'Locals Only' lifestyle and mentality along with the very much alive punk subculture of Verona Beach as a means of recruiting white resident teenagers. Santa Maria Bay was once considered impoverished due to the formation of multiple low-income town houses and apartments built around the Marina and Bolsa Park area. The 1990's began the reconstruction of the Santa Maria Bay area from a low-income "ghetto by the sea" to a summer home tourist attraction. Specific areas within Santa Maria became a hotbed for aspiring punk bands in the 80's such as Slater Avenue and the residential areas of Verona Beach. With the formation of these underground punk bands came along an entire culture that took the area by storm and still lives on through fans of the music today, however It is not as prevalent and dominating. The influx of tourists that swarm Verona and Slater Beach only strengthened and justified the hostility that local surfers and skaters had towards them. Santa Maria Bay is not only home to white skinhead street gangs but also has a history with Sureño cliques such as the Santa Maria Tokers 13.
The santa maria skinheads serve to be an umbrella faction for all active skinhead sets within the area. Some members choose to identify with specific clicks like the Dogtown and Slater skins other areas within Santa Maria choose not to branch off and solely represent SMSH. The production and distribution of methamphetamine and heroin is the gangs biggest channel of money, below that is the arms trade. Most if not all members have participated in a case petty theft, vandalism, and assault within their career in the gang. Most members who sell methamphetamine are hooked on it themselves which only serves to fuel the violence and crime committed by the gang. Getting high on your own supply isn't something that is frowned upon but seen as the norm. The local term for the man-made methamphetamine is 'scante', 'tweak', or 'crank' and is usually main source of income for most members.
The high amount of tourists flooding the beach side on a daily basis has attributed to the activeness of the 'White is Right' ideologies in most members. Numerous petty crimes carried out by local Hispanic and black gangs upon impressionable white teenagers is also an attributing factor to why they join the gang in the first place. However, most gang members do not put race in front of business when there is money to be made. Tweakers and addicts of various races all get their product from the gang no matter what skin color or nationality they are. If you're buying, they're selling. There have been cases of half-Hispanic members joining the gang but it is not a common occurrence.
There is no hierarchical infrastructure within the gang, respect and power are solely based on your willingness to carry out a variety of different crimes for the gang. Santa Maria skinheads among other white street gangs are a recruitment pool for larger and more powerful white supremacist gangs such as the Nazi Low Riders and Public Enemy Number 1. Due to this relationship with larger gangs skinheads from Santa Maria have a large influence within the San Andreas prison system.
History Of Whites In SMB
Santa Maria Skinheads, also known by SMSH, is a white supremacist street gang based in Los Santos, San Andreas. Members are present in the Santa Maria Bay region which includes Santa Maria Beach, Verona Beach, Marina, Verdant Bluffs and parts of west Los Santos. Its main criminal activities are methamphetamine sales, burglaries, robberies, and assaults. Members identify as skinheads, while female members identify as skinbyrds.
The gang was founded in 1984 as a punk rock gang. The first members were a local group of friends from Santa Maria, who came together to protect each other from other white gangs. The early formation was heavily influenced by the punk rock scene in southern San Andreas, which was noted for its violence. Other gangs from that period of time included the Los Santos Death Squad, West Side Suicidals, Circle One Family, and Fight For Freedom. Those who joined were typically suburban youths, who were into punk rock, surfing, or skating. Membership in SMSH consisted of mostly whites, along with some Hispanic members.
The Oi! culture was an early influence to the gang. The skinhead members were sporting boots, suspenders, and shaved heads. This was the typical look of the gang, whenever they frequented music shows or congregated around common hangout spots on the boulevard strip. Members were on the forefront of a "Locals Only" mentality, which was popular on the beachside. They often showed hostility to anyone who isn't from the area. Sometimes this caused clashes between the gang and other whites coming down from the valley. SMSH frequented the beachside surf shops and were a common sight on the boardwalk.
The initial formation was done for protection from the bigger Suicidals gang. The two sides clashed at punk rock shows and on the streets. Brawls and small fights were an often occurrence. Weapons like knives, bats, and brass knuckles were also used. A signature of SMSH, were the steel toed boots, used for kicking and stomping. Ideologically, the two groups were on two different parts of the world. Suicidals had a more cholo vibe and never adopted the skinhead look. Their cultural differences kept the rivalry going for long. SMSH were at times alligned with other punk rock gangs, who were rivals of the Suicidals.
The founding members were John "Needle" Kagan, Charles "Midget" Roberts, Donald "Drifter" Schrock, Eric "Payaso" Fernandez, Brent "Crow" Geer, Donald "Honker" Gomez, and Joseph "Lil Stomper" McCormick. They were all from Santa Maria Beach, the majority of them living on Slater Avenue. At the time, the area around Slater Avenue was dubbed "Slater Slums". Recruiting soon happened in Verona Beach, as members either moved around, or had family in nearby areas. Verona Beach is famously known as "Dogtown" to locals. Another area where recruitment happened, was Marina. Some smaller local punk gangs were absorbed into SMSH.
Verona White Boys was a gang active in the 1970s, composed of white youths, who were stoners, surfers, and skaters. They soon adopted a gang mentality, taking example of the local Hispanic gang, which would be later known as Verona 13. Fighting and partying were some of the main activities. When VWB started to decline by the late 1970s to the early 1980s, members were tapped into joining other gangs, such as the Suicidals or Verona 13. Some members joined Santa Maria Skinheads instead, when the gang spread to Verona Beach. Verona White Boys were pioneers and an important part of the Verona Beach culture.
During their peak times in the 1980s, SMSH had reached around a hundred members and associates. They were one of the recognizable names in the punk rock scene. Some local bands aligned themselves with the gang, or had gang members as band members. The most prominent band was Mental Void, who played many venues in Los Santos. Wherever they went, the gang followed them closely. Midget allowed them to rehearse and record their demo tape in the garage of his house. The band made series of unsuccessful attempts to land a record deal and get signed by a label. In the end, they were left only to be an underground classic.
Drugs and violence were a big part of the punk rock scene. Members began to arm themselves with more than just brass knuckles, taking up loaded handguns instead. Marijuana, methamphetamine, and heroin were the most popular drugs in the scene. Making money soon became a priority for many people, as they grew older, and had more influence among the younger generation. Tagging was another common thing. Driving down the boulevard or walking through an alley, you could see tags such as "SMSH" or "SKINS" covering building walls. Crossing out a gang tag, meant total disrespect, and many fights happened because of it.
Around this time, jumping in the newer members became the standard. Young recruits had to go through a beatdown done by several people, while a senior member counted. Some smaller crews, which were absorbed, were simply walked in at times. The punishment for leaving the gang was a beatdown and all the members knew the consequences. Monikers were widely used, as you could run into people called with names like Gangster, Spooky, Stoner, Scooter, Ranger, and others. Gangsigns were also used. For Santa Maria, it was usually two hands forming the letters S and M. Some just formed a W for Westside.
When a member of FFF was murdered in 1985, the police started taking notice of punk gang activity. Pressured by local communities, police forces started recognizing punk gangs as street gangs, and began dealing with them as such. Members were classified as street gang members, and even wearing a particular piece of clothing, could get you into trouble with the cops. Adult members began frequenting county jails. All this, combined with the violence of the scene, and with the decline of the punk rock scene, made a lot of members leave their gang. By the late 1980s, the membership of SMSH declined rapidly.
Although not a white supremacy gang in their roots, because of the demographics of the Santa Maria area, SMSH were primarily white. When the white power movement in the USA started to grow in the late 1980s, along with bands such as Skrewdriver making their way on the USA market, youths started identifying as racist skinheads. Tom Metzger and his White Aryan Resistance movement rose in popularity, amongst the younger generation of members. It wasn't about your gang anymore, it was about your race. Swastikas and sieg heil salutes were the new symbols.
By the early 1990s, the gang was mostly inactive. When the punk rock scene died out, there was no longer a pool to recruit newer members from. Those who were into it for the music, simply left the gang. Some members went to state prison, while other members just didn't like the direction of where the gang was headed. There were a few who joined Santa Maria 13, a Hispanic gang. One of the founding members, Payaso, died from an overdose in 1992. At time time of his death, he was operating as a drug dealer in his area, surviving on a day-to-day basis. Around fifty people attended his funeral, some even from once rival gangs.
Members of SMSH were living a life of crime, surrounded by drugs and violence. Something which caused a lot of them to end up in state prisons. Once there, they were recruited by bigger gangs, such as the Nazi Low Riders. The NLR were used by the Aryan Brotherhood as foot soldiers. Others joined PENI. A once punk rock gang they all knew, who were now a white street gang into money and drugs. Once released from prison, they wreaked havoc on the streets. Methamphetamine, also known as speed, was their drug of choice. Everybody was hooked on it. Once misfits, this generation now became career criminals and needle nazis.
SMSH became active again in the mid 1990s, when a lot of members finished their sentences, or got out on probation. The gang was now what you would call a white supremacist street gang. Methamphetamine was the center of the scene. Racist skinheads were recruited in the ranks of SMSH, along with youths and family members, who were hooked on the white power skinhead movement. The rate of hate crimes raised up, with mostly African-Americans and homosexuals being targeted. The only founding member who was still actively involved was Needle. He was recruited by the NLR while doing prison time in SACF.
Members traded in their boots and suspenders for shorts and wifebeaters. They were influenced by other criminals in state prisons. They looked and acted like any other gangbanger, focusing primarily on money. SMSH broke down on two sets, which were filled up with younger members. One was the Slater Avenue Skinheads, who used a crucified skinhead as their logo. They were active around Slater Avenue. The other one was Dogtown Skinheads, who used a dog's head as their symbol, with swastikas in its eyes. They were active throughout the Verona Beach area. Members were expected to put in work for their gang.
In 1999, the NLR was classified as a prison gang, which meant all of their members in prison were sent to the security housing unit on a twenty three hour lockdown. This caused a lot of members to drop out, as they couldn't function on the general population yards. The AB gave the keys to PENI, who were expected to be the new soldiers on the yards and streets. PENI started calling shots and recruiting from smaller white gangs, such as SMSH. Many members of SMSH soon became PENI members. The two sides are closely aligned and collaborate in crime. Both gangs became involved in more advanced crime.
Throughout the 2000s, prison was like a revolving door for white gang members. The gang life meant that you would end up there one day. Prison was like a fraternity for drug users, who took their newly acquired knowledge and skills back to the streets. SMSH was deeply involved in gang politics, both on prison yards and on the streets. Older SMSH and PENI members were doing work for the AB. If there was anything to be done, they had to handle it. Even if it meant to kill your own. Links were made to motorcycle clubs such as the Hells Angels, and also the Mexican Mafia and Sureno gang members.
The gang still keeps some of their early traditions. White laces worn in boots, mean that the person is a white power skinhead. Red laces worn in boots, mean that the person has spilled blood and most likely assaulted a minority. Because of this, today Santa Maria still has a high rate of hate crimes, because of racist skinhead activity. New members are jumped in as an initiation and have to go through a twenty three second count. You need to be white to join, but there are members who are half-Hispanic and accepted. Occasionally, some SMSH graffiti could still be seen on the walls, something which the city tries to combat.
Today, the gang is still active. Members are in and out of prison. They're criminally active and still part of their communities. The gang has advanced and older members persuade younger members to avoid bringing in any police heat. Crimes can range from petty assault and theft, to advanced white collar crime, such as credit card fraud or counterfeiting. Hate crime still occurs. All members of the gang are considered violent, as it still plays a big part in a gang member's reputation on the streets. PENI are attempting to unite skinhead gangs in southern San Andreas, and bring them under one banner.