ECONOMY & WORK
MONEY 101
NEWS
PERSONAL FINANCE
NET WORTH
About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms of Use DMCA Opt-out of personalized ads
© Copyright 2023 Market Analyst. Market Analyst is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.
Market Analyst Logo
Market Analyst Logo
MARKETANALYST.US / NEWS

Gangs of Hell: Here are the Top 10 Most Terrifying Cartels In the World

From MS-13 to the Yakuza, these groups are infamous throughout the globe.
PUBLISHED JUN 7, 2024
Cover Image Source: Getty Images
Cover Image Source: Getty Images

Largest And Most Violent Criminal Organisations

Snoopy, 20 years, shows off his gang tattoos | Getty Images | Photo by Robert Nickelsberg
Snoopy, 20 years, shows off his gang tattoos | Getty Images | Photo by Robert Nickelsberg

The world gang warfare has been a favorite for Hollywood. From The Godfather to Goodfellas, the audience has been obsessed with gangs and organized crime for decades. While movies and TV sometimes end up glorifying gangs, the fact is most of these outfits are extremely violent and dangerous and shouldn’t be idolized. Here’s a look at the top 10 most dangerous gangs from around the world. The list includes names like the Russian Mob, MS-13, and more.

1. The Medellìn Cartel

A mural of Pablo Escobar in a neighborhood named after him in Medellin, Colombia | Getty Images | Photo by Kaveh Kazemi
A mural of Pablo Escobar in a neighborhood named after him in Medellin, Colombia | Getty Images | Photo by Kaveh Kazemi

Led by the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar, Medellìn Cartel were huge traffickers of cocaine and other narcotics into the U.S. The cartel formed multiple smaller groups to stomp out other gangs or anyone who tried to curb their growth. They also worked in tandem with corrupt Columbian officials which allowed them to thrive in the country and evade the law. The cartel carried out assassinations and violent terrorism to fight against the U.S. and protect Escobar. However, the drug lord eventually lost influence and was killed in a shootout with the law enforcement members.

2. MS-13

Cholo, shows off his gang tattoos and MS-13 hand signs | Getty Images | Photo by Robert Nickelsberg
Cholo, shows off his gang tattoos and MS-13 hand signs | Getty Images | Photo by Robert Nickelsberg

MS-13 or Mara Salvatrucha is an international criminal gang that originated in Los Angeles, California, in the 1980s. It is dubbed as America's most violent gang which is involved in drug and human smuggling, prostitution, murder, and extortion, among other illegal activities. While the gang was originally set up to protect Salvadoran immigrants from other gangs, it grew into a more traditional criminal organization over time. It even spread through Central America, and Canada, gaining a reputation for extreme violence.

3. Yakuza

Yakuza gangsters proudly display their tattoos during the the Sanja Matsuri Festival in Tokyo Asakusa | Getty Images
Yakuza gangsters proudly display their tattoos during the the Sanja Matsuri Festival in Tokyo Asakusa | Getty Images

The Yakuza is estimated to have over 80,000 members, as per Britannica. Formed just after the end of World War II, the gang calls themselves ninkyō dantai, which is literally “chivalrous organization”.They engaged in construction, real estate, blackmailing, extortion, prostitution, loan sharking, extortion, and even human trafficking and control many restaurants, bars, trucking companies, talent agencies, taxi fleets, and factories. They have also been associated with numerous assassinations, of prominent business figures and politicians. They adopt samurai-like rituals and some Japanese consider them as a necessary evil.

4. The Sinaloa Cartel

Mexican Navy soldiers escort Joaquin Guzman Loera (front), alias
Mexican Navy soldiers escort Joaquin Guzman Loera alias "El Chapo Guzman", leader of the Sinaloa Cartel Getty Images | Photo by NurPhoto/Corbis

The Sinaloa Cartel or the Guzmán-Zambada Organization, the Federation, is one of the largest, international organized crime syndicates. Based in the city of Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico, the cartel specializes in illegal drug trafficking and money laundering. It originated after the Guadalajara cartel broke into different factions following U.S. action. The organization was led by prominent drug lords including Héctor Luis Palma Salazar and Joaquín Guzmán Loera, who was known as El Chapo. The organization’s revenue is estimated to be between $3 billion and $39 billion. After Chapo was arrested and extradited to the U.S., the gang was reportedly controlled by Ismael (“El Mayo”) Zambada García and Guzman’s sons.

5. The Russian Mob

 Flowers adorn the grave of Russian mafia godfather Vyacheslav Ivankov | Getty Images
Flowers adorn the grave of Russian mafia godfather Vyacheslav Ivankov | Getty Images

The Russian mafia or Bratva is a collective of various organized crime outfits originating from the Soviet Union. The Russian mafia deals in drugs, guns, gambling, black gold (caviar) and sex slaves, including children and young men. As per a Focus Features report, in 2002, the Russian mafia earned annual revenues of about $7 billion a year from trafficking of an estimated 160,000 women. The reach of their crime transcends national borders, and is particularly strong in the Eastern Europe and London.

6. Crips

Members of the Hustler Crips display gang signs | Getty Images
Members of the Hustler Crips display gang signs | Getty Images

The Crips is an American gang formed in Los Angeles in the 1960s or the 1970s. The group is involved in drugs, extortion, theft, and murder. However, it is most famous for its gangwar against the rival group, The Bloods. The Crips reportedly operate in over 40 states and has over 20,000 members, as per The Mirror. Both the Crips and Bloods are said to be 'among the most violent of gangs' in America.

7. Latin Kings

Latin King gang members rally to show their solidarity with their leader, Luis Felipe during his federal trial | Getty Images | Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein
Latin King gang members rally to show their solidarity with their leader, Luis Felipe during his federal trial | Getty Images | Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein

One of the largest criminal organizations in the world (by members), the Latin Kings was formed in the 1960s in Chicago. The gang’s stated purpose was bringing Hispanics together to overcome an “oppressive government” and uplift all "third world" people. However, the original intent was to empower its members and improve their quality of life, as per The Herald News. The group has a vast criminal network of criminal and non-criminal enterprises. They are mainly involved with the distribution of marijuana and they also sell a wide variety of drugs including cocaine, cocaine base, heroin, and fentanyl.

8. Sicilian Mafia

Salvatore Lucania, called Lucky Luciano (1897-1962), gangster of sicilian mafia (with handcuffs and cigaret) | Getty Images | Photo by Apic
Salvatore Lucania, called Lucky Luciano (1897-1962), gangster of sicilian mafia (with handcuffs and cigaret) | Getty Images | Photo by Apic

The Sicilian Mafia, also known as the Cosa Nostra, is a criminal society originating on the island of Sicily. The crime group dates back to the mid-19th century and over time it became an association of gangs that sell their protection and arbitration services under a common brand. It is one of the most famous organized crime groups due to cinematic representations of the Mafia in films such as “Goodfellas”, “The Godfather” franchise, and “Casino”. Their criminal activities included extortion, racketeering, smuggling, and prostitution.

9. Brigate Rosse

Repentant Italian terrorist Patrizio Peci, of the Brigate Rosse (Red Brigades), during a trial following the assassination of Aldo Moro | Getty Images | Photo by Edoardo Fornaciari
Repentant Italian terrorist Patrizio Peci of the Brigate Rosse (Red Brigades) during a trial following the assassination of Aldo Moro | Getty Images | Photo by Edoardo Fornaciari

Brigate Rosse or the Red Brigades was a militant left-wing organization in Italy that gained notoriety in the 1970s. Known for kidnappings, murders, and sabotage, the armed terrorist organization was operating as a far-left guerilla and terrorist group in the 70s. At its peak, the Red Brigades was believed to comprise 400 to 500 full-time members, 1,000 part-time members who helped periodically, and a few thousand supporters who provided funds and shelter. While the group smuggled weapons and drugs their most infamous crime was the kidnapping and murder of Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978.

10. Mongols Motorcycle Club

 Members of the Long Beach chapter of the Mongols motorctycle club | Getty Images | Photo by Michael Montfort/Michael Ochs Archives
Members of the Long Beach chapter of the Mongols motorctycle club | Getty Images | Photo by Michael Montfort/Michael Ochs Archives

The Mongols Motorcycle Club is a California-based biker gang that has had numerous reported encounters with the law. One of the group’s altercations with fellow motorcycle gang, Hell’s Angeles is perhaps one of the most brutal interactions of the gang. Today, the group also claims to no longer be a large-scale criminal operation. However, this does not change the Mongols' reputation and crime record which included methamphetamine trafficking, robbery, extortion, and murder.

POPULAR ON MARKET REALIST
MORE ON MARKET REALIST