18th Street Gang (Barrio 18)
It has been said that on average, everyday someone in Los Angeles County is assaulted by an 18th Street Gang member. Although they are rivals with the Bloods (#9), Crips (#23), and MS13 (#2), over the last ten years, the 18th Street Gang has racked up a kill count over three times as high as any of their rivals.
One of the most powerful drug cartels in the world, Los Zetas is responsible for so much death and destruction that it would be hard to fully describe its magnitude. It’s primary base of operations is located in Mexico, but its reach extends far beyond the Mexican border, and it has been a thorn in the side of governments surrounding Mexico.
A Russian mafia group, the Solntsevskaya Bratva is one of the richest gangs currently in operation. With a highly organized council, the 10 brigades of the mafia group have over 9,000 members and are knee deep in the drug trade and money laundering activities.
Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13)
One of the most violent gangs in the world, MS-13 makes most other gangs look like high schoolers dealing marijuana. It was started in California in the 1980’s when men fleeing from El Salvador’s civil war began a loosely organized gang. Since then, the group has continued to grow and add members with operations throughout North and Central America. In South America, the gang is especially dangerous and known for its heinous crimes against women and children. However, it’s MS-13’s lack of systematic organization that keeps it from being #1.
This massive Chinese crime syndicate is actually a conglomerate of gangs that has over 2.5 million members all over the world who dabble in trafficking, murder, and political influence. While each branch has its own customs and practices, the triads as a whole are known for their very organized structure and intense, bloody rituals. It’s their large membership, incredible organization, and systemic influence that makes the Triads the most notorious gang on our list.