Favorite

Tattoo Emergency 911 offers affordable removal of gang and prison tattoos 

click to enlarge SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton

People make bad choices. Sometimes they learn from those choices and try to make better ones. But that's not always easy.

Enter Jesus Bujanda, Denver-area shop teacher and tattoo remover. He owns Tattoo Emergency 911, which helps people get a fresh start. While laser tattoo removal has been around in its modern form since the late 1980s, Bujanda claims to be the first person in the U.S. to have a tattoo removal truck, a fully equipped mobile medical clinic that houses his tattoo removal laser. It cost him a cool quarter million, but he provides an important service in a way other companies can't.

click to enlarge SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton

"I just started working [in the Springs] in the last year with a variety of agencies" he says.

He contracts with programs across the state, noting a partnership with the Gang Reduction Initiative of Denver (GRID) as well as a ministry in Greeley and a budding partnership with the Colorado Springs probation office. Bujanda also offers his services at deeply reduced prices for ex-gang members and ex-convicts who aren't in programs he works with.

click to enlarge SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton

Enter Carrie Minguela, who found Bujanda through Facebook. She spent around five years as a member of a local white supremacist gang in the early 2000s. During that time, her white supremacist boyfriend used her right arm as a "sketchpad" for tattoos, including swastikas and other hate symbols.

"Being a girlfriend of a white supremacist, there's a standard you stand by," she explains. "You're his featherwood [a female white supremacist prison/street gang, opposite male peckerwoods]... you're down to do anything, [including] criminal activity."

Her relationship with him and the gang would end in prison — she was arrested and found guilty of multiple felonies, including fraud, around 2005. Probation allowed her to get away from the gang life for good, and in the years since she built a new life with a husband and three children.

click to enlarge SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton

But Minguela wants a career to help support her family, and the bold attempts at covering up the work on her right arm continue to stand between her and her future.

"I have felonies, so it's hard to find a decent job," she says. "With raising a family, it's a luxury, getting those tattoos removed... I've got a huge mess on my arm." At local clinics, she was quoted prices as high as $55 to $65 per square inch — easily $5,000 for the whole arm. But Bujanda gave her an opportunity to make it happen, asking for a substantially lower price and offering a monthly payment plan. It will take more than a year, but Minguela will soon be free of that tattoo and able to move on with her life.

"Here, like in Greeley, there's one laser that does this type of work, and they charge a premium," he says. "I don't want to be waiting for the luxury of $800, $900 tickets to come in. I want to help as many people as I can, as inexpensively as I can."

click to enlarge SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

All content © Copyright 2017, The Colorado Springs Independent

Website powered by Foundation