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Monday, September 04, 2006

The 18th Street Gang

The 18th Street Gang is a Los Angeles-based gang comprised mostly of Chicano and Mexican members. It is estimated that it is the largest gang in the United States with over 20,000 members in Los Angeles County alone.

The 18th Street gang has its origins from a Los Angeles gang known as the Clanton Street Gang (named after the street around which the gang was centered). In the 1940's, Clanton Street was changed to 14th Place due to the high number of Zoot Suit Pachucos 'hanging-out' and war industries needed simple addresses for the war effort. The Clanton gang was active in Los Angeles for decades and was comprised of several generations of well-established Mexicans living in America; more recent Mexican immigrants and Chicanos that wanted to join Clanton were rejected. From these rejects the 18th Street gang was born. Many 18th Street gang members have allied themselves with Norteños in recent years

It has since grown to be California's largest street gang, with membership in the thousands at the start of the gang. Out of the membership it is estimated that about 60% are illegal immigrants, according to a confidential report last year by the state's Department of Justice. While the majority of the gang's activities occur in Los Angeles, the gang is active throughout the United States and in other countries such as in Canada, Peru, El Salvador, Australia, and in several Asian and European countries.

Members of the gang frequently tattoo "18" or "XV3" on their bodies and, sometimes, all over their body. The gang is divided into five subsets or 'sides': North, East, South, West and South Central Los Angeles. Furthermore, each side has its own cliques or mini gangs.

The gang was recently documented in "Gangsters from 18" shown on the Crime Investigation Network.

Criminal Activities

The gang is involved in many forms of organized crime. Los Angeles police claim that 18th Street with its close ties to the Mexican Mafia and Nuestra Familia has become so influential in narcotics circles that it now deals directly with the Mexican and Colombian cartels. Many 18th Street gang members have allied themselves with Norteños in recent years The gang has been linked to 154 murders from 1985 to 1995 in Los Angeles alone.


18th Street has had its share of casualties from retaliations by many gangs in the Los Angeles area. The main rivals of 18th Street include Mara Salvatrucha, Florencia 13, Clanton14 or C14st., White Fence, Echo Park, Pacoima, San Fer, Rebels13, Playboys', Rockwood, Longo, Mid City Stoners 13, and Mid City Little Criminals 13. Some of the rival gangs had their origins also on Clanton Street. Additional rivals include most Sureño gangs in Los Angeles. Certain factions in South Los Angeles are feuding with African-American gangs, such as the Black P. Stones from the West Adams area and the Black P. Stones from the Culver City area of Los Angeles. They have also been feuding with the Rollin' 20 Crips from Long Beach and Rollin 60 Neighborhood Crips from South Central LA.

Gangbangers: Understanding The Deadly Minds Of America's Street Gangs


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