The Bandidos is a “one percenter” Motorcycle gang in a San Antonio, Texas. One percenter refers to the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) saying that 99% of motorcyclists were law-abiding citizens, implying the last one percent were outlaws. The Bandidos were most recently involved in the 2015 gun battle at Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas which ended up killing at least nine people and injured eighteen other people.
Bandidos Motorcycle Club – San Antonio, TX
One of the bikers arrested in Waco was a man named Marty Lewis, who in addition to being a biker is also a former San Antonio Vice Detective. Other factions of this gang have even moved in across the world including in Scandinavia, Australia, and Canada.
14K Triad – Hong Kong
14K Triad is one of the largest triads (or gang factions) in the world, and they are based out of Hong Kong. One of the leading poker players in the world, Paul Phau, has been connected to the Triad, although he says he only has a loose affiliation with the group he has still been arrested in connection with the triad. He has been said the be the world’s biggest bookie however in a 2016 interview he denied all allegations that he was a Triad.
He told Poker News, “The truth is that I have not been involved in the sports betting industry for a long time,” he said. “I’m just an investor, I’m a gambler, and I’m a risk taker, but I’m not an operator. I have invested in a lot of businesses, including online gambling businesses, in the past. But for the past seven or eight years, for me, it has been all about poker, family, and lot of real estate property investments.” He alleges that betting is simply a part of the culture that he grew up in, yet he moved away from it as he got older.
Black Tuna Gang – Miami, FL
The Black Tuna Gang was a gang that existed in the 1970s in Miami, Florida. The gang got their name from the media based on the observation that members wore a gold medallion with a tuna on it. They also allegedly used “black tuna” as a code word for “drug shipment.”
The gang was responsible for smuggling in very large amounts of marijuana and were even known as America’s biggest marijuana ring at one point in time. They were eventually brought down in a joint venture by the DEA and FBI. During a trial, members still tried to bribe the judge. The gang has been featured in several pieces of media including a documentary called Square Grouper: The Godfathers of Ganja.
Cornbread Mafia – Kentucky
The Cornbread Mafia was a crime syndicate that was actually a very close group of down-home country boys, that originated in the state of Kentucky but grew into multiple states. They were first discovered in the late 1980s after twenty of them were arrested for establishing a marijuana ring.
The Cornbread Mafia was the largest homegrown marijuana ring in United States History. The most well-known member of the cornbread mafia is Johnny Boone, who even until recent years was active in marijuana activity. He even has a song written about him. In 2016, about The Cornbread Mafia was released by Joe Keith Bickett, who was at one point associated with the group.
Dinner Set Gang – East Coast, United States
The Dinner Set Gang was a gang known for their burglaries which targeted the uber-wealthy and also occurred while the victims were at home eating dinner. As with many other gangs and criminal syndicates, they received their name by the media. Two individuals, in particular, were the brains behind the operation, their names were Peter Salerno and Dominick Latella.
The two researched and selected their victims by reading about their wealth in Forbes Magazine. The two men were also married to twin sisters whose family was active in the mob. Their victims included the DuPonts, the Flaglers, the Wallaces, the Pillsbury family, and Liberace.
Stealing from the Rich
Peter Salerno was taught how to steal by Frank Bova, a master thief. Frank had honed his skills in WWII while leading an Army Ranger team to steal documents from the Nazis. Frank Bova continued his craft but was never caught. Salerno and Latella stopped their activities and their money lasted them through the 1980s.
However, in the ’90s they came out of retirement after Salerno’s wife had breast cancer and they could not afford treatment. It was at this point they were caught, but have been both released from jail on parole as of 2008. Currently, a movie is in the works about their lives.
The Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord – Missouri
The Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord was a far-right political organization that existed in the 1970s through 1980s. Their beliefs centered around Christian Identity, white supremacy, and a doomsday prophecy. CSA developed from a Baptist church in Missouri. It is believed that they may have had a connection to the Oklahoma City Bombing through Timothy McVeigh who was involved with other radical organizations.
After one of their members was arrested for killing an African American police officer, their organization was dismantled after a siege by authorities. There have been many pop culture references to the CSA, most recently in the HBO show Newsroom written by Aaron Sorkin and starring Jeff Daniels.
DarkMarket – Internet
Dark Market was an Internet forum dealing a variety of crime that focused mostly on fraud. Users were responsible for buying and selling stolen financial information that had been illegally accessed on the internet. The forum was started by a man named Renukanth Subramaniam, he was ultimately sentenced to spend five years in prison in 2010.
The crime ring fell in 2008 after it was infiltrated by FBI agent J. Keith Mularski who used the alias Master Splyntr. Nice Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reference! After this there were more than sixty arrests around the world. The Internet has definitely opened up many new avenues for criminals!
Gangster Disciples – South Side of Chicago
The Gangster Disciples is a gang started on South Side of Chicago. Since the 1960s, they have been involved in crimes such as drug trafficking, Robbery, Extortion, Murder. Some of their members even joined the United States military. One notable case was in 2005 when Airman Rico Williams killed Sergeant Juwan Johnson of the US Army while stationed in Germany.
Williams was ultimately sentenced to twenty-two years in prison for the beating. The founder of the gang Larry Hoover is also serving a life sentence in prison for murder, conspiracy, extortion, money laundering, and running a continuing criminal enterprise. The last charge he received was because he tried to keep running the gang while in prison!
Irish Mob – NY, Upper East Coast
The Irish Mob has one of the most storied histories of any gang, mob, or mafia in the United States. In fact, it has been cited as the oldest organized crime group in the U.S. Some of the early days of the mob was covered in the film Gangs of N.Y. which focused on their activity during the 1860’s.
They played a major role in the illegal activity during prohibition time which, of course, focused on the acquisition of alcohol. This mob is still considered active today. Countless films have been made about them even focusing on their activities in recent time including The Departed with Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day Lewis.
The Order – Washington State
The Order is another white-supremacy group that existed during the 1980s. They were most notably involved with the murder of a radio talk show host and a former lawyer named Alan Berg. Alan was liberal and extremely outspoken often fervently ranting on his talk show which apparently, members of the order strongly disliked.
In 1984, they shot and killed him in his driveway. Alan had quite the interesting life himself. He decided to quit being a lawyer after he had a hard time with the constant lies which he said is the nature of the job. He became an alcoholic and after deciding to dry out left the law and never had a drink again until his untimely death.
Based on Fiction
Alan Berg’s rants were also often offensive to many groups of people (not just white supremacists) because he was so incredibly brash. Alan ultimately ended up as one of many that were on a “hit list” of people that The Order intended to kill.
The Order was named from William Luther Pierce’s novel The Turner Diaries which centers on a fictional terrorist group. The Southern Poverty Law Center refers to this book as “the bible” of the racist far right. The Order also sought to establish “a homeland” within the United States where all non-whites and Jews would be banned.
ShadowCrew – Internet
ShadowCrew is another Internet crime ring that took place on their online message board. This crime ring existed between the years of 200 through 2004. An unlikely duo met on the internet a twenty-one-year-old named Andrew Mantovani and a forty- three- year- old named David Appleyard.
The younger of the two was actually the ringleader who came up with the idea based on eBay, where those looking for stolen data or counterfeit identification or other goods could be put in touch with those who had them. Ultimately, a user turned police informant and aided in bringing down the crime ring.
Siete Viejo – Laredo, TX
Since the post-Vietnam 1970s, The Siete Viejo gang has been active. It was founded by returning U.S. Marine Corps Veterans of the Vietnam War of Mexican Descent in Laredo, Texas. Originally the gang dealt primarily in marijuana but eventually started selling stolen cars across the border. During the 1980s they also got involved with what was popular at the time – crack cocaine.
Siete Viejo made a deal with the Gulf Cartel in alliance against the famed Medellin Cartel in the ’90s and are allegedly still affiliated with them as of today. As of 2003, they have also made an alliance with the (still currently active) Zetas cartel. Los Zetas are enemies with the Sinaloa cartel which has been led by the famous El Chapo, a man who is constantly in both Mexican and American media.
The Snakehead gang is known primarily for human smuggling, which is one of the most terrifying on this list so far! They smuggle their Chinese customers into richer Western countries like the United States or Australia. Often if the customer is unable to pay the gang, the gang will then turn to human trafficking and sell the person into a bevy of unsavory fates such as prostitution or forced labor.
There have even been documented instances of human trafficking leading to organ trade on the black market. The Snakehead gang has also helped smuggle North Koreans into South Korea. This is another gang that has been written into popular culture including the book and film World War Z which starred Brad Pitt.
Tong – Various, United States
Tong means a hall or gathering place in the Chinese language. These places exist in the United States and are like secret societies. Most of these places exist in Chinese areas of any given town or city and are able to be easily found if you can read Chinese.
Some tongs are also out for the good of people and include services like immigrant counseling, Chinese schools, and English classes. A long time ago, in the 1800s in San Francisco’s Chinatown, there was something referred to as Tong Wars, which was a series of rival gang fights that were extremely violent.
United Freedom Front – Ohio
The United Freedom Front was a Marxist organization that existed in the 1970s. Marxist, is, of course, referring to a political theory by Karl Marx which is the foundation of Communism, although the theory is a bit different than what we’ve seen in real life Communist governments.
In the ’70s until the early 1980s members carried out multiple bank robberies and bombings in the United States. The first bombing was at the Massachusetts State House, in what was seemingly a stand against capitalism. Ultimately the members were caught and brought to trial. They are referred to as the Ohio 7. Many of them were husband and wife duos and they all received time ranging from 15 years to 53 years.
Winter Hill Gang – Boston, MA
The Winter Hill Gang is a very well-known organized crime syndicate. Members are predominately Irish American and Italian American, and they have been active since the 1950s. They are known for a wide variety of crimes including racketeering, loan sharking, skimming, contract killing, race fixing, bookmaking, truck hijacking, robbery, illegal gambling, drug trafficking, money laundering, murder, extortion, prostitution, weapons trafficking, and police corruption.
They are considered to be part of a larger whole of the Irish mob. They have had many famous members, but perhaps the most famous is Whitey Bulger. An FBI agent named John Connolly was even involved in the gang and affiliated with Bulger.
The film The Departed specifically centers on the Winter Hill Gang, and Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson’s roles are loosely based on Bulger and Connolly. In the early 1990s, Bulger was being heavily watched by law enforcement including the FBI. It was at this point that FBI Agent Connolly let Bugler know that indictments were coming against him, so he went on the run.
He remained a fugitive for the next 16 years, even though he was on the FBI’s most wanted list. At this point, Whitey Bulger is the stuff of legend. He was arrested in 2011 at the age of 81 in Santa Monica, California. In 2015, the film Black Mass starring Johnny Depp as Bulger was released, which recounted the mobster’s life and experiences.
Yakuza – Japan
Yakuza refers to the members of a transnational crime syndicate which originates in Japan. They are notable for their extremely strict codes of conduct and fiefdom nature. Fiefdom refers to old-time feudal systems. Yakuza often have full body tattoos called irezumi in Japan.
The tattoos are traditional and still often done through a hand-poking method using not electric tools but rather needles made of bamboo, which is far more painful than the normal tattoo methods of today. They are involved in a large variety of criminal activity. They also engage in very strange customs such as yubitsume which is when the transgressor must cut off their finger as a form of apology and give the severed portion to his boss. Yikes!