East End law enforcement officials have identified the five gangs listed below as most active in our area. While most derive their principal income from the sale and/or distribution of various illegal drugs, many are also involved in crimes including human and weapons trafficking, prostitution, homicide and drive-by shootings, assault, carjacking, identity theft, money laundering robbery, and extortion.
A predominantly African-American gang established in Los Angeles, the Bloods are a collection of local gangs that share a single culture. Large, national level organizations exist within the Bloods, which are present in 33 states. Membership is estimated at as many as 20,000 individuals.
The Crips are an amalgamation of structured and unstructured gangs that have adopted a shared culture. Originally made up mostly of African-American men from the Los Angeles area, Crips gangs comprise 30,000 to 35,000 members and currently operate in 221 cities and 41 U.S. states.
Colors: Blue, black
Formed in the Rampart District of Los Angeles in the 1960s, 18th Street — also called Mara-18 — is a loosely associated group of Latino cliques, each led by a prominent member. Eighty percent of its members are from Mexico and Central America. The gang is currently active in 44 cities across roughly 20 states. Current membership is estimated at between 30,000 and 50,000.
Colors: Black, gold
This gang emerged in Chicago in the 1960s with the original goal of “overcoming racial prejudice.” The group soon became a criminal organization with two main branches, KMC (King Motherland Chicago) and Bloodline, founded in 1986 in the New York State correctional system. Initially, members were predominantly Mexican and Puerto Rican, but the gang is now open to all nationalities. Over 160 structured chapters operate in 31 states, with 20,000 to 35,000 members.
Colors: Blue, white
Also known as Mara Salvatrucha, this is one of the largest Hispanic criminal organizations. Originally, its chapters were loosely associated, though law enforcement officials have observed increased coordination of criminal activity, particularly in New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Membership in the U.S. is estimated at 8,000 to 10,000 and worldwide membership at 30,000 to 50,000.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice