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18th Street Gang

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May 4, 2007

18th Street Gang

The 18th Street Gang is one of the biggest gangs in Los Angeles County. There membership has been estimated to be around 20,000. Most members in this gang are Mexican and Chicano but they are one of the few gangs that have broken racial boundaries. They allow almost any race to join the gang. (Delaney, 2006) Because of their openness to other races the gang membership grew rapidly. An estimated 60% of the gang is made up of illegal immigrants. ("18th Street Gang", 2007) The 18th Street Gang is also referred to as the Children's Army because they recruit members from very young ages. Members are told that if you leave the gang it will result in death or the death of family members. (Valdez, 2000) Members of the 18th Street gang expanded into other countries such as Mexico, and Canada.(Valdez, 2000) Over the pasted 17 years the gang has moved activity into other states as well. These states include Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Georgia, and on Native American lands. (Valdez, 2000)

The 18th Street Gang was started in 1960's. It was formed as a result of youths attempting to join the Clanton Gang. The Clanton Gang was a gang who only allowed American citizen from a pure Hispanic background. This did not leave any room for the illegal immigrant migrating from Mexico. Although these youths were denied entry into the Clanton Gang they still committed crimes. Most were incarcerated. Upon entry into the jail they tried to join the Clanton Gang again only to be rejected. These youths banded together and created their own gang. One youth with the nickname "Glover" did most of the recruiting and targeted mostly interracial youths. This formed the 18th Street Gang originally called the Clanton Street Throw-aways.(Delaney, 2006) The name 18th Street Gang came about because the majority of the original gang members lived on 18th Street.

The 18th Street Gang is a combination of a few smaller gangs. It is mostly a regional gang with the majority of its membership in Los Angles County. The most predominate area for gang member is between the Staples Center and Hoover Avenue. (Alonso, 2002) They also have large groups between Vernon (north) and Slauson (south). Their biggest rivals are the Florencia 13 which is also a Hispanic gang. Florencia 13 has more gang members and a larger turf then 18th Street Gang. (Alonso, 2002)

The 18th Street Gang is known for their violence. When a police officer approaches an 18th Street Gang member, the officer assumes that they are armed and dangerous. (Valdez, 2000) It is not unusual for a member to be carrying a .25 and .380 caliber handgun. Other weapons they have been known to have are Tech 9s, Mac 10s, Mac 11s, and AK-47s. (Valdez, 2000) The 18th Street Gang are known for many different criminal activities. Some criminal activities they are known for is auto theft, rape, murder, drive by shootings, extortion, drug trafficking, drug sales, murder for hire and arms trafficking. They are also becoming more and more involved with drug trafficking. They have been known to sell crack, tar heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine. (Valdez, 2000) Another criminal activity that is large in the 18th Street Gang is tax collecting. In areas of gang turf members collect a tax from business owners, legal or illegal. They have been known to collect taxes from drug dealers, prostitutes, business owners, and street vendors. If a person refuses to pay the tax members of the 18th Street Gang will kill them. (Valdez, 2000) The gang is also involved in white collar crimes such as fraudulent ID's and immigration papers. They also steal credit cards, bus passes and food stamps. (Delaney, 2006)

Some ways to distinguish members of the 18th Street Gang are by their tattoos. They like to get tattoos on their forehead's and above their eyebrows. (Delaney, 2006) Gang members get tattoos

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