Heavy.com is the go-to site for facts about the latest criminal in the news:
John Turscak is a former Mexican Mafia gang leader and FBI informant who is accused of stabbing former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin 22 times in a Tucson, Arizona, prison law library.
The federal Bureau of Prisons inmate database describes Turscak as:
Register Number: 14098-074
Located at: Tucson USP
Release Date: 06/03/2026 …
1. John Turscak, Who Went by the Gang Name ‘Stranger,’ Chose ‘Black Friday’ Because of the Black Lives Matter Movement & Mexican Mafia’s ‘Black Hand’ Symbol, the Court Documents Say …
“He saw an opportunity to assault DC in the law library on Friday, November 24, 2023, the day after Thanksgiving commonly known as Black Friday.”
Turscak stated that his attack of Chauvin on Black Friday “was symbolic with the Black Lives Matter movement and the ‘Black Hand’ symbol associated with the Mexican Mafia criminal organizations,” the complaint says. …
2. John Turscak Was Described as a ‘High-Level Gang Member’ Who Was in a War With Another Mexican Mafia Leader in California …
3. John Turscak Once Worked as an FBI Informant, But the Agency Dropped Him Because He Was Accused of Plotting Murders While ‘on the Government’s Payroll’
The 2001 article in the Times adds that Turscak was a “paid informant for the FBI. He began cooperating with the government in April 1997, but was subsequently dropped when FBI agents learned he had plotted to kill Martinez [another Mexican Mafia capo] and his associates while on the government’s payroll.”
Turscak had ordered an assassination attempt of Martinez in 1997, and Martinez was “wounded in the arm and his fiancé narrowly missed being shot,” the Times reported. …
An article in the Los Angeles Times, also in 2001, said that Tursczak [sic] became an informant in 1997 “in an investigation that resulted in the indictment of more than 40 alleged Mexican Mafia members and associates.”
… The district court found, however, that ‘[a]lthough the Government was aware that Turscak was talking about a conspiracy to murder Martinez, Turscak was cooperating with the investigation so there was no reason to believe that he actually intended to carry out the murder.’ …
4. John Turscak Once Told a Judge That He Expected a Lighter Sentence Because he ‘Had an Agreement With FBI Agents’
In November 2001, the Fresno Bee reported that Turscak had received a 30-year prison term, calling him an “FBI informant who was a former member of the Mexican Mafia. He was sent to prison for racketeering and conspiring to kill a rival in the gang.”
Turscak “expressed dismay” after pleading guilty because he thought “he had an agreement with FBI agents that would have brought him a lighter sentence,” the article says.
“I didn’t commit those crimes for kicks,” Turscak said in court, according to The Bee. “I did them because I had to if I wanted to stay alive.”
Other old newspaper articles from Los Angeles show Turscak worked for a car dealership. Ancestry.com records say Turscak’s mother’s maiden name was Martinez.
Let me guess. His dad, Mr. Turscak, wasn’t around much?
How common are Croatians in the Mexican Mafia? I don’t know, but a previous Croatian-American leader of the Mexican Mafia was Joe “Pegleg” Morgan (not the Reds second baseman). From Wikipedia:
Joseph Morgan (born Joseph Međugorac; April 10, 1929 – November 8, 1993) was an American gangster who became the first non-Hispanic member of the Mexican Mafia. He received the nickname “Pegleg” by authorities because of his prosthetic leg.
The youngest of four siblings, Morgan was born on April 10, 1929, in San Pedro, California to Croatian immigrants Clara (née Radišić from Imotski) and Grgo Međugorac , a truck driver who was an ethnic Croat from Ljubuski. Shortly after his birth his father naturalized as a U.S. citizen , anglicizing the family name to Morgan due to anti-immigrant and anti-Slavic sentiment at the time (in 1929, the same year Morgan was born, the U.S. passed immigration laws limiting immigration from the Balkans. It’s believed that more than half of the Croatian population in the U.S. at the time was deported from the nation). Morgan grew up in a primarily Mexican and Croatian neighborhood in San Pedro. Later, he was raised by his mother in a Mexican neighborhood in Boyle Heights. In the late 1930s, he joined the Ford MaraVilla street gang , one of the oldest documented gangs in Los Angeles.
Morgan became fluent in Spanish.
In 1946, Morgan beat to death the husband of his 32-year-old girlfriend and buried the body in a shallow grave. While awaiting trial, he escaped using the identification papers of a fellow inmate awaiting transfer to a forestry camp. He was recaptured and sentenced to nine years at San Quentin State Prison. He was only seventeen years old at the time.
Morgan was paroled in 1955, but a year later, he returned to prison for an armed robbery at a West Covina bank where he ran off with $17,000 (equivalent to $183,000 in 2022).
In 1961, Morgan led eleven inmates in a jailbreak from Los Angeles County Jail through a pipe shaft and using hacksaw blades he hid in his prosthetic leg. 
Morgan was well respected within the ranks of the Mexican Mafia and became a high-ranking member. His connections with cocaine and heroin suppliers in Mexico helped pave the foundation for the Mexican Mafia’s narcotics distribution throughout California. Morgan was able to persuade the Aryan Brotherhood to forge a loose alliance with La Eme, due to having the Black Guerrilla Family as a mutual rival.  This was after Morgan tried and successfully made loose alliances with black gangs such as the BGF, which eventually broke down because the Mexican leaders at the time had issues with multiple black gangs. It was thought that Morgan wanted to set deals with white and black gangs to ensure La Eme would come out the dominant force with little resistance. Morgan was known for thinking strategically.