LA Gangster Novel Collections

History of Gangs in Los Angeles

Every American gangster novel is filled with the details of the early gangs in Los Angeles. If you’re reading an American gangster book, then it’s hard to miss these details.
Los Angeles has been named the ‘Gang Capital of America ‘due to notable gangs in the city. More than 100 gangs have existed in L.A., which cannot go unnoticed. It’s hard to completely irradicate the gangs from the city due to their strong presence.
Most gangs were started to fight the system or to stop the racism against them. Almost all gangs are multi-ethnic organizations consisting of Hispanics, Americans, Africans, Mexicans, and people from other races.
Here are the details of a few Los Angeles gangs. Dive into the history of L.A. gangs that once existed or still exist in L.A. with proper recognition.

1. 18th Street Gang

Also remembered as the Calle 18, Mara 18, La 18, and Barrio 18, it is one of the most famous L.A.street gangs. It’s one of the largest multi-ethnic organizations consisting of about 30,000-50,000 members. The gang operated in Central America, United States, and Mexico.
Later on, the gang allied with the Mexican Mafia and operated with them. The gang extended their reach in the area by shaking hands with people of different races and nationalities. Hundreds of members of the gang were arrested by the FBI in the early 2000s.

2. Abergil Crime Family

Another criminal gang in Los Angeles’s history is the Abergil Crime Family, based in Israel but located worldwide. Ya’akov Abergil was the founder of the gang, but after his death, the gang is controlled by Itzhak Abergil, Meir Abergil, and Avraham Abergil. The members of the Abergil gang are detained and arrested multiple times. Abergil family members are famous Los Angeles gangsters.

3. Armenian Power

Armenian Power is another top street gang in Los Angeles, which also goes by AP13, Armenian Madia, Armenian Mob, and APX3. The gang was formed in the 1990s by Armen’ Silent’ Petrosyan.
The gang is known to have at least 200 members with a huge number of associates. Not to mention the incredible links of the gang in the American-Mexica mafia.

4. Asian Boyz

Working in Southern California, the Asian Boyz was formed in the 1990s to protect the South Asian refugees and immigrants from American gangs in localities. The gang has approximately 2,000 members and is known to have been enlisted in the U.S military from where they traffic drugs. As per the FBI, the gang is active in at least 28 different U.S cities across 14 states.

5. Bahala Na Gang

Started in the Philippines, the gang now operates in the U.S as well. The gang was started in the 1920s by Divino Talastas along with his brother Emong. The gang was formed when another brother of Divino was shot dead by the police at the age of 15 for murdering a police officerand spreading his terror in the vicinity. Divino tried to maintain the gang’s territorial power after he came of age after Emong’s death. Divino was killed in the 1980s after being abducted and tortured.

6. Black Guerilla Family

Also known as the Jamaa, Black Vanguard, and the Black Family, this gang was formed by George Jackson, W.L. Nolen, and George ‘Big Jake’ Lewis in 1966. The gang was formed when they were incarcerated in the San Quentin State Prison. The Black Guerilla gang was created to maintain dignity in the jail, promote black power, and overthrow the U.S government.

7. Bloods

Bloods was another street gang that was formed in Los Angeles. The members of the group wore red shirts and also had a distinctive hand sign. The rivalry between the Bloods and the Crips was widely known on the streets of Los Angeles. The gang was famous all across the U.S. and consisted of about 15,000-20,000 members.

8. Hells Angels

Widely known as the 81, Red & White, HAMC, and H.A., it’s a motorcycle gang whose members are seen riding Triumph, Harley-Davidson, and Vincent Motorcycles.
Otto Friedli formed the gang after his rivalry with the Pissed Off Bastards motorcycle club. Hells Angeles is involved in prostitution, violent and organized crimes, stolen goods trafficking, extortion, and drug dealing. It’s a small group of bike riders who allied to form a gang. It’s one of the ‘big four’ motorcycle groups in California.

9. Los Angeles Crime Family

Founded in the 1900s by Joseph Ardizzone, the Los Angeles crime family a.k.a. L.A. Mafia,operates in Los Angeles, California. The gang consists of members belonging to different ethnicities,including Italians.
The gang is highly involved in conspiracy, loansharking, money laundering, skimming, drug trafficking, fraud, racketeering, murder, extortion, gambling, and fencing.

10. Mexican Mafia

Operating in the United States, Mexican Mafia is one of the largest organized crime gangs. Mexican Mafia originated in the U.S. criminal prison. According to the law enforcement agencies, it’s one of the deadliest gangs operating in the U.S prison.
The gang consists of about 400-500 members with more than 1000 associates carrying out its illegal activities. The gang was started with about 15-20 members incarcerated in the Deuel Vocational Institution in California.

11. Mongols Motorcycle Club

Formed in Montebello, California, the gang is also known as the Mongols Nation or Mongol Brotherhood. The gang was formed in the year 1969 and consistedof approximately 2,000 members.
Although the gang mainly operates in South California, it has its presence in 14 other states of the U.S. and internationally. The prominentpeople of the gang are Roger Pinny and Scott ‘Junior’ Ereckson.

12. MS-13

Originated in the Los Angeles, MS-13 is an international gang formed in the 1970s and 1980s. The name of the gang is the abbreviation of Mara Salvatrucha. The main goal of the gang’s formation was to protect the Salvadoran immigrants from the gangs in L.A.
This gang is famously known for its rivalry against the 18th Street gang. There are about 30,000-50,000 members of the gang internationally. It’s one of the biggest gangs involved in extortion, illegal immigration, trafficking, murder, money laundering, robbery, kidnapping, racketeering, and battery.

Final Words

Los Angeles is the bastion of gangs operating for ages in the city. Mostly, prisons have been the place where gangs were started operating. Many famous gangs are still operating in L.A. However, some of them have suffered the results. L.A.gangs’ history is long enough to fill all the empty pages in the books. Read the book ‘Land of No Pity’ by Robert Cornelius to gain insight into the Los Angeles prison’s prison culture. The book is based on true events and war stories to show an unbiased review. The book will give you a broad perspective of what truly happens in the prisons and the type of torture that the prisoners go through.