Criminal activity has always ranged from clinical to brutal, chaotic to organized. And while pop culture and television in particular has started talking about just how brutal gangs can get, the truth of what’s out there is horrifying. From cannibal cults to ex-special forces, here are the ten most terrifying gangs.
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10. The Mungiki
A Kenyan gang formed in the 1980s, the Mungiki have been terrorizing innocent citizens ever since, opposing westernization where they can. Part cannibal cult, part gang the group is reported to have decaptiated a two year old as part of a ritual.
They were banned by the government in 2002 for bludgeoning twenty people to death in a slum.They still have over a hundred thousand members. Political affiliations allow them to continue extortion, murders, and kidnappings. Among there common day jobs during election time is voter intimidation via brutal desecration of bodies and disturbing violence.
Easily the biggest member of the Yakuza scene, the Yamaguchi-Gumi boasts thirty seven thousand members and an income of eighty billion dollars a year. In the 1980s they brutally suppressed a breakaway gang in a a four year street war, in over two hundred street battles and at least thirty gang members dead.
The Yamaguchi-Gumi even assassinated the mayor of Nagasaki when one of their member’s cars was damaged at a construction site. As Yakuza, members cut all ties from their old families and abide by the rules of Yubitsume – when something goes wrong, the person responsible for the failure loses a finger.
The Crips began as a 60’s Civil Rights group, but fell from grace and became a brutal street gang with over thirty five thousand members across the US. The famous forty year feud with the bloods has resulted in fifteen thousand people dead, rumored to include Tupac.
The LA Times reported that the infamous B.I.G. paid the Crips one million dollars to commit the crime. Prime suspect I the case was Crips member Orlando Anderson. Apparently Orlando and Tupac got into a fight on the day of the murder. The case remains unsolved.
7. The Bloods
Speaking of which, the Bloods are a LA street gang who has a long rivalry with the Crips. That’s not all that is to them, though. Its fifteen thousand members live by the motto of “You kill one of mine, I kill one of yours.” This Old Testament style oath has resulted in thousands dead.
At the height of the Crip-Blood feud, the Bloods offered up to ten thousand dollars per Crip. The hate runs so deep that Bloods will target innocents wearing the Crips colors. So be careful out on LA streets if your dressed in blue.
6. Barrio Azteca
A former prison gang boasting eight thousand members, Barrio Azteca boasts a massive drug operation across Central and North America. Their regular work is contract kills for other larger gangs and according to US officials they were responsible for thirteen hundred killings in Juarez during 2010.
That same year they also fatally shot teenagers at a house party, purely to assert territoriality control. Leader Eduard Ravelo is currently on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted list, with a reward of one hundred thousand dollars.
The premier white supremacist gang of America, the Aryan brotherhood lives by the motto “blood in, blood out.” Initiation requires the death of a Hispanic or African American. Try to leave without doing the deed and the Brotherhood will kill you.
Later disloyalty has less lethal if no less brutal punishments. One member who showed signs of wavering lost five of his fingers to a bolt cutter. Another had his balls and ass burned with a sodering iron. The Brotherhood has twenty thousand or so members and makes up one in every ten prisoners. Despite the lower numbers, they are reported to commit one in every three murders.
4. Primeiro Commando Da Capital
One of the younger gangs on this list, PCC was founded after the 1993 killing of a hundred prisoners by police, known as the Carandiru massacre. The PCC has only thirteen thousand members and makes a respectable income of two and a half million dollars a month.
This prison gang is connected and organized enough that in 2007 they organized rebellions in seventy nine different prisons. It held San Paolo under siege for over a week, burning or killing anything related to the government it could find. Before law and order were restored, five hundred were dead. As one of Brazil’s greatest gangs, over a hundred police officers died fighting the PCC in 2012 alone.
3. The 18th Street Gang
Also known as “Mara 18”, the 18th street gang runs from Central America all the way north to California. Reportedly, at least one person a day in LA alone is assaulted by the gang. With twenty thousand members regularly engaging in murder, gang rape, and kidnapping, the number is a bit low.
The gang got on national news in 2007 for the kidnapping and murder of soccer player Wilson Palacios’s 14-year old younger brother. This was after Wilson paid the five hundred thousand dollar ransom. Attempts to leave are met with violence targeted at family members, and disrespect warrants beatings or execution.
2. Mara Salvatrucha
The 18th Street gang’s immediate rivals, Mara Salvantrucha stretches from Canada to El Salvador, with over three times the members of Mara 18. The ongoing feud between the gangs has resulted in Honduras having the highest murder rate in the world. Also known as MS-13, their motto is a bit more straightforward then the Crips or Aryan Brotherhoods: “Rape,Control, Kill.”
Recruiting for Mara Salvantruch begins as young as ten, with children trained to be hitmen. And while boys are ‘lucky’ and only get forced into a life of violence, girls younger then twelve end up as part of the gang’s prostitution wing. The girls are delivered drunk and drugged to clients to ensure compliance.
1. Los Zestas
Formed by ex-special forces members of the Mexican military, Los Zestas is armed to the teeth with military grade weaponry. Armed with assault rifles, anti-tank weapons, and grenade launchers, Los Zestas has the edge in the growing drug war that consumes Mexico, which has already claimed over a hundred thousand lives.
Renowned for violence and brutality, in 2011 Los Zestas held up buses in San Fernando and forced passengers to fight to the death. The result was almost two hundred people dead and the survivors forced into the gang. Social media critics of the gang have been tortured and disemboweled on two separate occasions.