Los Angeles, the City of Angels, is a city known for its glitz, glamour, and Hollywood charm. However, the city has another side. A complex network of crime gangs within the urban landscape has influenced the city’s culture, infrastructure, and society. Here’s a snapshot of the most notorious crime gangs that have left their mark on Los Angeles.
The Crips: Born in South Central LA in the late 1960s, the Crips have become one of the most well-known gangs in the United States. Originally established as a local community group, the gang evolved into a network involved in various criminal activities, particularly drug trafficking.
The Bloods: Formed in the early 1970s, the Bloods was initially created to protect local neighborhoods from the Crips. The Bloods, like their rivals, are heavily involved in illegal activities such as robbery, drug trafficking, and murder.
18th Street Gang: One of the largest transnational criminal gangs in Los Angeles, the 18th Street Gang is known for its involvement in drug trafficking, murder, and racketeering. They have a significant presence in Central America as well.
Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13): MS-13 originated in Los Angeles during the 1980s, founded by Salvadoran immigrants who fled the civil war in their home country. Known for their brutal and violent tactics, the gang has established an international presence, with strongholds in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.
The Mexican Mafia: Established in the 1950s, the Mexican Mafia, also known as La eMe, started within the California prison system. The gang engages in various criminal activities, including drug trafficking, murder, and racketeering.
The Armenian Power: Originating in the 1980s, this gang is made up of immigrants from Armenia and other countries in the region. Armenian Power is known for its involvement in white-collar crimes such as credit card fraud, identity theft, and extortion.
The Mongols Motorcycle Club: The Mongols Motorcycle Club, founded in the 1970s, is one of the most feared outlaw motorcycle gangs in the United States. They are involved in drug trafficking and murder and are known for their violent clashes with other motorcycle clubs.
The Tongan Crip Gang was established in Inglewood by Tongan immigrants in the 1970s. Its members are known for engaging in various criminal activities, such as assault, robbery, and drug trafficking. They’ve made a significant mark on LA’s gang landscape due to their Pacific Islander heritage, differentiating them from the city’s largely African American and Hispanic-majority gangs.
Playboy Surenos 13: Established in West LA in the late 1950s, this Hispanic street gang is known for its involvement in drugs, murder, and other serious crimes. They are part of the larger Sureño gang network in Southern California.
Asian Boyz: This primarily Asian-American gang was formed in the 1970s and is spread throughout various parts of Los Angeles. Noted for their involvement in violent crimes and drug trafficking, the Asian Boyz stand out for their multicultural membership, which includes individuals from a wide range of Asian backgrounds.
Florence 13: One of the oldest and most entrenched Hispanic gangs in LA, Florence 13 was established in the 1920s in the Florence neighborhood of South Los Angeles. Involved in drugs, robbery, and murder, the gang has a longstanding rivalry with the 18th Street Gang.
Rollin’ 60s Neighborhood Crips: Formed in the 1970s, this African American street gang is the largest Crip set in terms of geographical territory and membership in Los Angeles. Involved in drugs and violent crimes, they have a longstanding rivalry with the Eight Tray Gangster Crips.
The Avenues (Avenidas): Named after the avenues that cross their territory in Northeast LA, this primarily Hispanic gang is involved in drug trafficking and violent crimes. They’ve been a presence since the 1940s, extending to other parts of the country.
The Hells Angels: While not exclusively based in Los Angeles, the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club has a significant presence in the city. Known for drug trafficking and violent crimes, they’re one of the world’s most infamous outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Pico Nuevo: Established in Southeast Los Angeles, Pico Nuevo is primarily composed of Hispanic members. They are known for their involvement in various criminal activities, including drug trafficking and robbery.
Vineland Boys: Founded in the 1980s, this gang is located in the Sun Valley and North Hollywood neighborhoods of the San Fernando Valley. The Vineland Boys are involved in drug trafficking and other illegal activities.
The Venice Shoreline Crips: This predominantly African American gang formed during the 1970s in the Oakwood neighborhood of Venice. Known for drug trafficking and violent crimes, they are significant on LA’s west side.
Culver City Boys: Established in the 1970s, this Hispanic gang operates primarily in Culver City. Known for their involvement in drug trafficking and violent crime, they have an ongoing feud with the Venice 13 gang.