Correctional authorities, hoping to quell violence at Duel and break the organization, sent La Eme members to San Quentin and Folsom. This repressive measure obviously backfired, as the founding member of Eme, Rodolfo Cadena, stabbed a black inmate to death in front of the entire prison yard on his first day, which marks the debut of a new era of unprecedented power and success for Cadena and Eme. The organization underwent rapid structural and strategic development, establishing an expansion-oriented policy of uncompromising political centralism, vestiges of internal democracy, and consensus-based decision making processes. They soon gained control of the Chicano prisoner population in most significant west coast lock-ups. However, reports of abuses and excesses remained commonplace from Chicanos, especially northern Californians and others with no close ties to the southern (sureno) cliqas.
By 1970, preexisting ties to the Aryan Brotherhood were solidified as a general alliance, which was at least in part a power-move to check the growing power of the Black Guerrilla Family after 1966.