Known to have an affinity for high powered assault rifles, the Jamaican Posse is well connected in the island’s government and heavily feared for its practice of ritualized killing that often involves laundry irons, butchers knives, and even vacuum cleaners.
Found throughout the Sao Paolo prison system in Brazil as well as its numerous favelas (slums) this gang is known for kidnapping, extortion, and its ability to instill fear. In May 2006 it managed to put the entire city of Sao Paolo under siege for almost a week while gang members brutally killed police officers and burned government buildings.
What started out as local gang of 16 year olds turned into one of the biggest crime organizations in the world. As bitter rivals with both the Bloods and numerous hispanic street gangs the Crips are known for wearing the color blue and carrying out extreme acts of violence. They are so violent in fact, that many of their casualties are the result of infighting and internal conflicts.
Responsible for roughly 1/4 of prison murders in the United States, if you want to be a member of this gang you must kill or assault a fellow prisoner. It is a practice known as “blood in, blood out” so anyone who tries to leave the gang usually ends up dead or in the hospital as well.
As one of the biggest Chicano gangs in the world it is also bitter rivals with its fellow countrymen in the Mexican Mafia (#18). In fact, La Nuestra Familia is said to have started when a member of La eMe stole a fellow Latino’s pair of shoes. This gang is known for requiring extremely strict allegiance and it takes over two years to be fully initiated. Once you are in, though, there’s no turning back.
Widely considered to be one of the best organized gangs Latin gangs in the world the Kings have a highly detailed constitution that includes traces of Marxism, Confucianism and Christianity. Although they are not as violent as many of the other gangs on this list they do engage in a fair share of illegal money making activities including contract killings.
Unlike the other gangs on this list, Jesse James and his cohorts are no longer with us. And it’s not really brutality that the James Younger Gang was known for. They were just really good at stealing money from people…really, really good.
A loose ally of the Aryan Brotherhood (#22) this west coast prison gang is known to be heavily involved in the business of drug trafficking. Their members are identifiable by the tattoo of a black hand, usually across the chest.
Although the origins of this international gang are disputed, there is one thing that is for sure – they are good at making money. Although they have been known to resort to extreme violence they typically only use it as a means to an end. Most of their operations are focused around money laundering and financial crimes in Los Angeles and eastern Asia.
A very politically motivated organization, one of the Black Guerrilla Family’s objectives upon being founded in 1966 was to overthrow the United States government. They have numerous allies on both coasts including the Crips (#16) and the Bloods (#9). Their main rivals, however, are the Aryan Brotherhood (#22)0 and the Mexican Mafia (#18).
A loosely organized group of teenagers and abandoned youth that roam the streets of Lagos, Nigeria this group has been known for its practices of extortion and drug violence. Although not nearly as ruthless or well-organized as many other gangs on this list, they are still widely feared for their seemingly unprovoked attacks on innocent bystanders and as their members age they will likely become a much more sophisticate criminal organization.
A Chicago street gang with heavy Islamic influences, its leader, Abdullah-Malik (born Jeff Fort) actually had ties to Muammar Gaddafi and had met with him on several occasions. Although they were not known specifically for violence they have often been targeted by the FBI due to their high profile activities.
Members of this Japanese gang are required to cut all ties with their family and pledge complete loyalty to their gang boss. In western media, a practice often associated with the Yakuza has been Yubitsume, or cutting the off one’s finger as an act of apology. This practice is actually so prevalent that when four fingered British cartoons like Postman Pat were introduced in Japan the government considered adding an extra finger to avoid scaring little kids.
More commonly known as the American Mafia, this high profile crime syndicate is an offshoot of the Sicilian Mafia. It finds its roots in New York’s lower east side with the start of Italian immigration to the States. Although the media usually refers to it as the “mafia” neither the Sicilian nor American Mafias have any formal name for themselves and simply go by “cosa nostra” meaning ‘our thing’ in Italian. Known for its ruthless code of conduct, if a member breaks any rules the punishment is almost always death, and usually it is executed by those closest to the offender.