Yesterday, OC Weekly published a feature story, about ex-FBI informant and Irvine-raised hoodlum Kenji Gallo and his quest to solve the 22-year-old murder of Joe Avila, the restaurateur of El Ranchito fame who allegedly was also one of OC's biggest coke dealers in the 1980s. You can read that story, "Blown Away," here, and follow updates at Gallo's blog, over here.
Avila was murdered just after midnight in May 1987 as he was driving his Porsche convertible in the Santa Ana Heights neighborhood of Costa Mesa. Whoever pulled the trigger was a professional: the neat line of bullet holes in the car suggested either a MAC 10 or an Uzi outfitted with a supressor to stabilize the weapon. The presence of a motorcycle left at the scene hinted that the killers may have been Colombians, because motorcycle-riding assassins known as sicarios were all the rage in South America's top cocaine exporting country at the time.
One of the last people to see Avila alive is Kenji Gallo, who recently published a bestselling memoir, Breakshot: A Life in the 21st Century Mafia, which Gallo co-wrote with true crime writer Mathew Randazzo V. Anyone who read that story and wonders if Gallo really exists might want to show up tomorrow at 2 p.m. at the Irvine Spectrum Barnes & Noble, where he's signing copies of his bestselling book.
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