There are actually more of the worst gangs in America. These five are chosen because they have nationwide chapters or have well developed prison based societies, and are extremely powerful outside of prison. These gangs are not just informal groups of anti social losers who cannot make it in society. They are very well organized, are very powerful, and are here to stay. They are actually well developed societies, some of them with generations of members. They have well developed organization hierarchies, business plans, goals, norms and values. Some even operate on business models or structural models for criminal, religious, sectarian, or secret fraternal organizations that leaders have read about while in prison.
They are well financed from drug distribution and other criminal activities that can approach the sophistication of legitimate major corporations, with staffs of professionals, advanced technology, and tendrils that reach into law enforcement, politics, the judiciary, and even into whole communities.
Two of the worst gangs operate mainly within the American prison system, with profitable drug, murder for hire, prostitution, and other business operations in conjunction with confederate groups on the outside. High level leaders may be locked down and in isolation, but they stlll manage to communicate, obtain drugs, make weapons, and control major activities in prisons.
Aryan Brotherhood (AB, The Brand)
While the Aryan Brotherhood is a small (1%) prison gang, they are responsible for 26% of prison murders throughout the United States. They have well formed subgroups: one for the Federal prison system and one for the State and smaller prison systems. They engage in extortion, drug dealing, inmate prostitution, murder for hire, dog fighting, and organized criminal activity. One has to kill in order to gain membership, and the only way out of the gang is to be killed or to die.
As the worst prisoners in the most high risk prisons, it is suspicious for the high risk incarcerated groups to run a major criminal enterprise without help from official sources who have been extorted or corrupted.
The Aryan Brotherhood has made connections to Latino and Asian gangs in order to expand their drug dealing and other operations. The Aryan Brotherhood and the Mexican Mafia joined forces to attack Black Inmates, after prisons were desegregated in the 1960s. They have also worked with Asian gangs to bring in heroin from Thailand.
The Aryan Brotherhood maintains external organizations, such as the “Order Of The Blood”, which was raided in 2005, resulting in the arrest of over 30 individuals.
Mexican Mafia (La eMe)
The Mexican Mafia joined with the Aryan Brotherhood to attack Black inmates when prisons were desegregated. It is another powerful prison based gang that has outside components. The prison activities are crude and based on murder, drug trafficking and extortion. Their main claim to fame is their association with the Aryan Brotherhood, but their mistreatment of rural Mexicans led to the formation of the Nuestra Familia. Outside of prison, they are fairly confined to Southern California, especially Los Angeles and San Diego.
There is no clear organization, but there is a close and crude bond between members both inside and outside of prison. The Aryan Brotherhood, with it’s superior criminal support from inside the prison authorities structure, might make the Mexican Mafia more powerful. This group operates by notifying new Mexican prisoners that they will be killed if they do not join the group, and by issuing the same threats to Mexicans who live in Los Angeles and San Diego.
La Nuestra Familia
This is another prison gang that originated in California prisons and spread nationwide in order to fight the Mexican Mafia. La Neustra Familia controls drug and prostitution operations throughout the American prison system.
With over 30,000 members, in and out of prison, the Crips are the largest and one of the most powerful gangs in America. The Crips originated in the 1960s as a response or offshoot of the Black Panthers, works against some Hispanic gangs, and is so large that there is are military and Canadian components of the gang. While the Crips are predominantly African American, membership is not exclusive to African Americans. Ice-T and Snoop Dogg are prominent former members of the Crips.
The criminal activities are broad, but include robbery, drug dealing, and volatile violence, sometimes within the gang. The Crips were instrumental in distributing crack cocaine, PCP and amphetamines. Culturally, crips have been enamored of graffiti and contributed to the rise of rap music. The Crips are associated with the color blue, because of the blue bandannas that were once worn by the members. The Crips are known for their generational battles with their mortal enemies, the bloods.
The Bloods, characterized by the red bandannas, originated southern California in opposition to the rise of the Crips. Their membership spread to the prison system in response to desegregation and to offer protection from the other gangs, especially the Crips. The Bloods are more loosely affiliated and even diverse group, with affiliations with Latin, White and other gangs. There is no clear leadership of the Crips, which tend to have subsets of street gangs called “sets”. Blood membership has been found in the military, and there have even been affiliations with Crip and other gangs as needed to further their interests.
There are two major national alliances of gangs: The People Nation and the Folk Nation, which are formed mainly to provide protection to prisoners in the Federal and state prison systems.
The majority of the most powerful and violent gangs seem to have originated in response to Federal and state prison desegregation and the formation of gangs within the prison system that battled over either race, nationality, or prison business opportunity. As members come and go from the prison system, they bring their gang affiliation with them, and tend to recruit from the poor White, Latino and African American communities. The most disturbing element of their activities involves the question of the massive amount of drugs and the well organized prostitution, murder for hire, and other criminal enterprises that manage to go on in what are supposed to be secure facilities.
“Ten Extremely Dangerous Gangs”
Wikipedia: Aryan Brotherhood