- “Extremely dangerous hispanic street gang. Violent. Proud. Psychotic. Heavily involved in gun running, street violence. Have traditionally been anti-narcotics. Long term gang feud with Los Santos Vagos. As well as rivalries with all other street gangs in Los Santos. Dislike of San Fierro Rifa. Wears turquoise.”
- — GTA San Andreas Website.
- “¡Hasta la muerte!”
- — Cesar Vialpando
The Varrios Los Aztecas (a.k.a. "Aztecas", "Southerners", "Southside Aztecas", or "VLA") are a gang featured in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, as the second group of protagonist gang.
The Varrios Los Aztecas have been around since the early 1980s, and are one of the more recently formed gangs in Los Santos. Much of their origins and past history is unknown. Likewise, the origins and past of their rivalry with the other Los Santos gangs - particularly the Los Santos Vagos - is also unknown, though it obviously began sometime between 1980 and 1992. It is highly likely that they evolved from the El Corona neighborhood, and their presence grew with the increase of Mexican and other Hispanic/Latino immigration to the area, correlating with the relative deprivation of the area compared to the rest of the city.
Events of GTA San Andreas
The Varrios Los Aztecas are not a major part of the story, but are first mentioned during Sweet & Kendl in which Sweet refers to Kendl's relationship with a high-ranking Azteca member - Cesar Vialpando, stating "you know we beefing". Because of this, the gang acts as a fulcrum point between the relationship of Sweet and his sister due to Cesar being Kendl's boyfriend - much to the dismay of Sweet because to Cesar's involvement with the VLA.
They are first seen during the mission Cesar Vialpando. Sweet orders CJ to follow his sister to a lowriding club at Unity Station, where a lowriding competition with a high concentration of Azteca gang members is taking place - including Cesar Vialpando himself. Fortunately, the Aztecas do not harass or fight CJ and let him take part in the bouncing competition against an Azteca member. CJ wins the competition without any violence taking place and is then introduced to Cesar Vialpando - Kendl's boyfriend. CJ makes his objection to the relationship clear, and an influential (possibly an OG) Azteca member called Jose approaches CJ and confronts/insults him for his rudeness. Fortunately, Cesar is able to influence Jose to "cool down", thus causing him to leave and possibly saving CJ's life. From this point on, Cesar and CJ start to develop a close friendship though the gang violence between the Aztecas and Grove Street Families doesn't decrease.
It is likely that the Aztecas have no involvement with C.R.A.S.H. like the other three Los Santos gangs. This is because the Aztecas never show-up to rob the weapons train during the mission Catalyst, where as the other three gangs were tipped off by CRASH about the train. This is odd since the Aztecas are heavily involved in arms dealing/gun running. Either CRASH are scared of the Aztecas due to them being possibly the most heavily armed gang in Los Santos, or they avoid them because they mistakenly think they are weak due to their small size. Another possibility for this is because CRASH does not want to make the VLA too powerful over the other gangs by equipping them with even more weapons (due to them already being heavily armed). CRASH reveals this mentality to CJ during the mission Gray Imports by stating "if one tribe gets an unfair advantage over another, that truly troubles me Carl!".
However, upon the completion of the mission The Green Sabre, the Aztecas lose all of their territory and influence to the Vagos - including El Corona, Unity Station, and Little Mexico. Remaining Aztecas are killed or in hiding while Cesar is far away from Los Santos aiding CJ and Kendl.
Throughout the rest of the middle game, the Aztecas make no appearances.
Upon the return of CJ to Los Santos, Cesar and the Aztecas regain back their territory from the Vagos in a gang war with the help of CJ and some Grove Family members during the mission Los Desperados. This mission also introduces the other three known Azteca OG's - Gal, Sunny, and Hazer. This is the only known situation where the Families and the Aztecas join together briefly to take down the Vagos.
The Varrios Los Aztecas are an extremely proud Mexican/Latino street gang, and they control El Corona, Little Mexico and Unity Station. They are the smallest gang in the city but are likely to be one of the most heavily armed, giving them power over the other gangs. They are a traditionally anti-narcotic gang like the Grove Street families, with heavy involvement in gun running/arms trafficking, gang-banging, gang warfare, street violence, gang-related homicide, murder, vandalism, and illegal street racing. They are easily identifiable by their turquoise colored bandanas and 90's "cholo" style clothing.
The Aztecas have a fierce rivalry with the Los Santos Vagos, and strongly dislike the San Fierro Rifa. They also have many conflicts with the nearby Ballas (especially the Front Yard set) since their territories border near Idlewood. The Aztecas are also enemies with the Grove Street Families and will attack Grove members on sight though the rivalry is not as intense as it is with the Ballas and especially the Vagos since the families are well away from their territory, and since they both share similar views on drug trafficking.
Aztecas will more commonly question CJ about his gang banging status rather than directly shooting him on sight like the Ballas would. If the player chooses to respond positively, CJ will announce he is from Grove Street and the Aztecas will attack. Aztecas members will be hostile to Carl only if he walks on their territory. If he drives a car through their turf, they will just stand on the street and won't even chase hím or shoot at his car. This indicates that the Aztecas and GSF have a lighter rivalry, as opposed to the Ballas and Vagos, whom the GSF are arch-enemies with.
Despite the rivalry between the Aztecas and the Families, two prominent OG's/high ranking members bond a close friendship - Carl Johnson (Grove Street) and Cesar Vialpando (Aztecas) due to Cesar dating Carl's sister Kendl - though this is much to the dismay of Grove Street leader Sweet whom quotes at the beginning of the game "you know we beefing" in relation to the rivalry between the two gangs. The friendship of Carl and Cesar is further fueled when they eventually leave behind the gang-banging lifestyle. Hence, despite the fact that Cesar is a friend of the protagonist, this gang will still confront and/or attack CJ if he walks on their turf.
Unity Station acts as a front for the gang and is a common meeting place, aswell as being the place where their lowrider competition takes place. VLA members are mostly dressed in the 90's 'cholo' (Mexican gangster) style clothing of the time and turquoise bandanas are a dead give-away and they will often mark their territroy with graffiti. Members are found hanging around and talking in groups while smoking marijuana and drinking malt liquor. Upon spotting a Balla, Grove, and especially a Vago or rarely a Rifa member on sight - they will engage in a violent confrontation. Aztecas can also sometimes be seen flashing their gang handsigns.
On the streets, they are either unarmed or armed with the 9mm Pistol or the Micro SMG. Since they carry the Micro SMG on the streets along with an RPG, Tec-9, and Katana in the mission Los Desperados, they are actually better armed than their primary enemy - the Vagos, though the Vagos are much larger and have more territory while the Aztecas are the smallest gang in Los Santos - suggesting that they are probably on equal power.
The VLA have three different skins that will walk and drive around their territories.
- The first member sports a backwards black baseball cap, sunglasses, a turquoise bandana, a black ProLaps jacket with a white shirt underneth, a cross necklace, black jeans and white sneakers.
- The second member wears sunglasses, a turquoise bandana, a white T-shirt, a cross necklace, beige khaki shorts, knee-high white socks, white sneakers, and has a shaved head and tattoos.
- The last member wears a turquoise bandana, a collared gray and light gray striped T-shirt, cool gray pants, white sneakers and also features many tattoos.
Gal, Sunny, and Hazer are likely the gang's OG's who assist Cesar and Carl to recover some of their lost territory during the mission "Los Desperados" towards the end of the game. Jose is also possibly an OG/high ranking member, who is introduced during the mission "Cesar Vialpando". The game never explains Cesar's status in the gang. He could be the leader or a high-ranking OG. It is more likely that he is a high-ranking member and not the leader due to his influence over Jose and his overall respect. If he was the leader, it is unlikely he would befriend CJ, ask for the Grove Street Families' help during the mission Los Desperados, or date Kendl.
The Aztecas are traditionally heavily into cars and the lowriding culture and "hopping" or hydraulics usage as part of their gangs identity and past-time. They have a betting competition known as the Lowrider Challenge. It can be found at Unity Station after talking to the mechanic just outside of the east wall of the station's parking lot.
Unlike the other gangs, the Aztecas don't primarily seem to be concerned with "branching out" or starting businesses/relationships (except for arms running/dealing) like the Vagos/Ballas willingness to engage in the crack trade or the Grove Families willingness for territory/expansion. Instead, they seem to be more locally focused by exclusvely representing and defending their "barrio".
Interestingly, unlike the Ballas and the Grove Families; the Aztecas are not divided into different sets - and are formed as one large gang instead. This is probably due to their small size: the different sets make it easier to organize large gangs, while the Aztecas wouldn't necessarily have that problem.
Member and Associates
- Cesar Vialpando - Leader
- Jose - High Ranking Member
- Gal - Lieutenant
- Sunny - Lieutenant
- Hazer - Lieutenant
- Carl Johnson - Underboss of the Families and Cesar's brother in law
- Sweet Johnson - Boss of the Families and Carl's brother
- Kendl Johnson - Carl's sister and Cesar's girlfriend
- Woozie - Deputy Mountain Master of the San Fierro Triads
Terms and Slang
- Burrito Boys: Disrespect term
- Ass-Suckers: Disrespect term
- Ass-Takers: Disrespect term
- Ass-Bangers: Disrespect term
- Azteca A-holes:Disrespect term
- Az-dicks: Disrespect term
- VK/Vago Killer/Vago Killa: Term used by Aztecas to disrespect Vagos
- GK/Grove Killer/Grove Killa: Term used by Aztecas to disrespect Grove Families
- BK/Balla Killer/Balla Killa: Term used by Aztecas to disrespect Ballas
- Ese: Contemporary Mexican street slang - refers to a friend
- Holmes/Homie/Home Boy/Home Girl: Contemporary street slang - refers to a friend (especially Holmes for latino slang)
- Northerner/North: Usually refers to the Vagos or San Fierro Rifa and their territory
- Varrio/Barrio/Hood: Neighborhood
- OG/Original Gangster: A high-ranking, influential and well-respected member. One that has put in a lot of work.
Due to a glitch, it is possible for the Varrios Los Aztecas to attack Grove Street territory. First, the player will have to wait for some Ballas to attack the hood. When the territory is attacked, the player will need to lure 3 Ballas gangbangers into El Corona or Little Mexico, kill them there and then drive to the attacked hood. The player will see blue points on the map, either Glendales, Broadways or Hermes blocking the turf and the Varrios attacking it.
- Varrios Los Aztecas is misspelled Spanish for "The Aztec Neighborhoods"; the correct word is "Barrio", or "Barrios" in plural. However, this is probably misspelled on purpose, as in Mexican and Chicano Spanish dialects, the sound of B and V are basically pronounced the same way.
- The Aztecas are based on the real-life gang called the Sureños.
- The beta versions of the VLA members are different from the final versions, which can be seen from early screenshots of the game.
- One member wore two turquoise bandanas on his head and face, a black long sleeve button jacket with only the top button fastened (as most Mexican gangs wore), a white tank top underneath, baggy dark gray khakis and dark gray sneakers.
- Another member wore a turquoise bandana on his face, a white, tucked-in tank top , and also wore dark gray khakis and sneakers.
- The other member wore a turquoise bandana on his head, a white tucked-in tank top, dark gray khaki shorts, knee-high socks and sandals.
- In the beta, the Aztecas' gang tags were turquoise.
- When attacking/confronting CJ near a rival gang neighborhood, they will turn their hostilities to a rival gang member if they see one.
- It is possible that the Varrios Los Aztecas are allied with the Colombian Cartel, because Catalina in Grand Theft Aero mentions that she does not ally with anyone except her relatives; this would be odd since the Aztecas are opposed to the narcotics trade, though it's possible their stance may have changed by 2001.
- The Varrios Los Aztecas are supposed to lose their territory to the Los Santos Vagos after completing The Green Sabre, but it's possible for this change to never occur. This is because the change happens after a post-mission phone call from Catalina after the completion of Gone Courting. This call is easy for players to miss, and hence the confusion.
- In the beta version of the game, Aztecas members could be recruited, and were originally scripted to be on much friendlier terms with the Families. This is also proven by their dialogue, as they rarely may compliment CJ. If Carl responds that he is from Grove Street, he will be attacked; however, on rare occasions CJ may respond positively to a compliment he will not be attacked.
- Despite being the secondary protagonist group in the game, their appearances are limited since they appear in two missions only.
- Despite being arch-enemies with the Vagos, the only time they are seen warring is in the mission Los Desperados. However, if the player activates the "gangs are everywhere" cheat early in the game, they can regularly see the Vagos and Aztecas attacking each other.