California is home to some of the most diverse and populous cities in the United States, but also to some of the most notorious and violent gangs. These criminal organizations operate in various regions and sectors of the state, engaging in drug trafficking, extortion, robbery, murder, and other illegal activities. Here are five of the most dangerous gangs that are taking over California.
MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, is a transnational gang that originated in Los Angeles in the 1980s by Salvadoran immigrants fleeing the civil war in their country. The gang has since expanded to other parts of the US, Central America, and even Europe and Australia. MS-13 is known for its brutality, ritualistic killings, and use of machetes as weapons. The gang is involved in various crimes, such as human trafficking, prostitution, kidnapping, and drug smuggling. MS-13 has an estimated 10,000 members in the US, with a strong presence in Southern California, especially in the San Fernando Valley and the Pico-Union area.
2. Nuestra Familia
Nuestra Familia, or Our Family, is a prison gang that was formed in the late 1960s by Mexican-American inmates in the Soledad Correctional Training Facility. The gang is based on a paramilitary structure and a strict code of conduct. Nuestra Familia controls most of the drug trade and other criminal activities in Northern California, especially in the rural areas and the Central Valley. The gang is also engaged in a long-standing rivalry with the Mexican Mafia, another prison gang that dominates Southern California. Nuestra Familia has an estimated 2,000 members in and out of prison, with a network of associates and allies known as the Norteños.
Crips is one of the largest and oldest street gangs in the US, founded in Los Angeles in the late 1960s by Raymond Washington and Stanley Williams. The gang is composed of various subgroups or sets, each with its own identity, territory, and leadership. Crips is known for its use of the color blue, the letter C, and the number 6 as symbols. Crips is involved in various crimes, such as robbery, murder, and drug dealing. Crips has an estimated 35,000 members in the US, with a strong presence in Southern California, especially in Los Angeles, Compton, Long Beach, and Inglewood.
4. Hells Angels
Hells Angels is a motorcycle club that was founded in California in 1948 by a group of World War II veterans. The club is considered an outlaw motorcycle gang by law enforcement agencies, as it is involved in various crimes, such as drug trafficking, extortion, racketeering, and murder. Hells Angels is known for its use of the color red, the letter A, and the death’s head logo as symbols. Hells Angels has an estimated 2,500 members in the US, with a strong presence in California, especially in the Bay Area, San Bernardino, Ventura, and Sacramento.
5. Armenian Power
Armenian Power, or AP, is a street gang that was formed in the 1980s by Armenian immigrants in Los Angeles. The gang is composed of various factions or cliques, each with its own territory and leadership. Armenian Power is known for its use of the color black, the letter P, and the Armenian flag as symbols. Armenian Power is involved in various crimes, such as identity theft, fraud, extortion, and murder. Armenian Power has an estimated 250 members in the US, with a strong presence in Southern California, especially in Glendale, Burbank, and Hollywood.
These are just some of the most dangerous gangs that are taking over California, but there are many more that pose a threat to the safety and security of the state. These gangs are not only a problem for the law enforcement agencies, but also for the communities and individuals that are affected by their violence and corruption. It is important to raise awareness and prevent the spread of these criminal organizations, as well as to provide support and opportunities for the youth and the marginalized groups that are vulnerable to their recruitment and influence.