25. Nuestra Familia
Founded in 1968, Nuestra Familia is a felonious organization of Mexican-American prison gang originating in Northern California. Drug trafficking within prison systems and in the community and extorting drug distributors in the streets are their primary sources of income. Murder and racketeering are some of their deviant doings.
24. Mexican Mafia
The Mexican Mafia, or La Eme (“The M”), was founded in 1957 by Luis “Huero Buff Flores” in Deuel Vocational Institution, California, United States. This highly organized Mexican-American criminal organization has been reported to be the most powerful gang within the California prison system. Their vicious activities include murder, drug trafficking, and money laundering.
23. Black Guerrilla Family
The Black Guerrilla Family, also called the Black Family or the Black Vanguard, was founded in 1966 by George Jackson and W. L. Nolen at San Quentin State Prison in Marin County, California. This prison and street gang has been involved in drug trafficking, robbery, and homicide. Their symbols include a black dragon and crossed sabers, machetes, rifles, and shotguns with letters B, G, and F or numbers 2, 7, and 6.
22. Area Boys
The loosely organized Area Boys are street children and teenagers wandering in the streets of Lagos, Nigeria. They would regularly knock on bus windows and extort money from people. They also sell illicit drugs and act as informal security guards.
21. Almighty Black P. Stone Nation
The Black P. Stone Nation was founded in 1958 in Woodlawn, Chicago, Illinois, by Jeff Fort. This street gang has been involved in drug trafficking, murder, and extortion.
The Crips, a mostly African-American gang, was founded in Los Angeles, California, in 1969 by Raymond Washington and Stanley Williams and is widely known for their bitter conflict with the Bloods. The color blue is identified to be associated with the Crips. They have been responsible for numerous criminal activities such as drug trafficking, robbery, and murder.
19. Texas Syndicate
With a paramilitary structure, the Texas Syndicate has Hispanic and White members. In the 1970s at Folsom Prison in California, this primarily Texas-based prison gang was formed in direct response to other California prison gangs. Murder, drug trafficking, and extortion are some of their criminal acts.
18. Wah Ching
Founded in the 1960s in San Francisco, California, Wah Ching is a street gang and a Chinese-American triad society. They involve in treacherous activities such as illegal gambling, drug trafficking, and murder.
Broadly known for their rivalry with the Crips, the Bloods is mainly an African-American street gang founded in mid-1972 in Los Angeles, California. The red color worn by their members and particular gang symbols (e.g., distinguishing hand signs) are their identifications. Criminal activities include murder, robbery, and drug trafficking.
16. Cosa Nostra
Cosa Nostra (“Our Thing”), or Sicilian Mafia, is a criminal organization sharing a common structure and code of conduct in Italy. The arbitration of disputes between criminals, protection racketeering, and the organization and oversight of illegal agreements and transactions are their primary activities.
Originating in the Campanian region and Naples, Camorra is one of the oldest and largest criminal organizations in Italy, dating back in the 18th century. This Italian Mafia-type crime group has a horizontal structure, acting independently of each other.
14. Primeiro Comando da Capital
Founded on August 31, 1993, Primerio Comando da Capital (PPC, “First Command of the Capital”) is reported to be the largest Brazilian criminal group, which is largely based in the state of São Paulo. 6,000 of their 13,000 members are in prison. Prison breaks, prison riots, highway robbery, and drug trafficking are some of their criminal acts.
13. Hells Angels
The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC), a “one-percenter” motorcycle club, is known as an organized crime syndicate by the US Department of Justice. The members of this club typically ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Drug dealing, extortion, and prostitution are some of their criminal acts.
The Mongols Motorcycle Club, or the Mongol Nation or Mongol Brotherhood, was founded in 1969 in Montebello, California. This “one-percenter” outlaw motorcycle club is currently headed by David Santillan. Criminal activities include extortion, robbery, and money laundering.
Originated in Japan in the seventeenth century, the yakuza members are known for their very organized nature and strict code of conduct. They also participate in international systematized crimes. Many of the yakuza members have full-body tattoos, known as the irezumi.
10. United Bamboo
With approximately 10,000 ethnic Chinese members and associates, the United Bamboo, or Zhu Lien Bang, gang is considered to be the largest of Taiwan’s three triads. Their violent activities include contract killing, murder, prostitution, online fraud, and extortion.
9. Barrio Azteca
Barrio Azteca, also called Los Aztecas, was founded in El Paso, Texas, in 1986. This Mexican-American gang smuggles drugs across the border from Mexico into the United States as their main source of income. Their other treacherous acts are contract killing, money laundering, murder, and extortion.
8. Latin Kings
Active since the 1940s, the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, abbreviated as ALKQN, ALKN, or LKN, was founded in Chicago, Illinois, and is considered to be the largest and one of the most organized Hispanic street gangs in the United States. Their markings include a five- or three-point “sacred crown”; writings of LK, ALK, ALKN, or ALKQN abbreviations; and the lion and/or the king master drawings. Their criminal activities include murder, racketeering, battery, and robbery.
7. SoIntsevskaya Bratva
Also called the SoIntsevskaya Brotherhood or SoIntsevskaya gang, SoIntsevskaya Bratva is the biggest and powerful notorious criminal organization of the Russian mafia. Founded by Sergei Mikhailov in Solntsevo, Moscow, Russia, the gang involves themselves in criminal activities such as extortion, human and drug trafficking, arson, and murder.
6. 18th Street
The 18th Street gang, also called Calle 18, Barrio 18, La18, and Mara-18 in Central America, was founded in the 1960s and has been active since then. Started as a street gang in the Rampart area in Los Angeles, this multiethnic, transnational crime syndicate is involved in drug trafficking, extortion, murder, etc.
5. Aryan Brotherhood
Founded in San Quentin State Prison, California, United States, the Aryan Brotherhood is active since 1964 and is held liable to up to 30% of murders in the federal prison system according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Members of this gang are marked with distinctive tattoos. Their criminal activities include murder, inmate trafficking, and assault.
4. Sinaloa Cartel
Active since 1989, the Sinaloa Cartel is a malevolent syndicate primarily based in the city of Culiacán, Sinaloa, with felonious activities including international drug trafficking, organized crime, and money laundering. The group has been considered as “the most powerful drug trafficking organization in the world” by the United States Intelligence Community and “Mexico’s most powerful organized crime group” by the Los Angeles Times.
The Mungiki, the term meaning “multitude” or “masses” in the Kikuyu language, was founded in the 1980s and based exclusively in Kenya, where the group is a sect and a banned ethnic organization. They are against westernization and Kenyan modernization, making them known for ethnic violence and antigovernment resistance.
2. Mara Salvatrucha
Mara Salvatrucha, abbreviated as MS-13, originated in Los Angeles and is known to have spread to other parts of the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Central America. This multinational criminal gang has been active since the 1980s until the present, with criminal activities such as drug trafficking, murder, prostitution, and robbery.
1. Los Zetas