Armenian Power graffiti in Little Armenia
|Years active||Late 1980s - present|
|Territory||Hollywood intersections Normandie Avenue, Hollywood Blvd, Little Armenia, Glendale, some members in New York City and New Jersey|
|Criminal activities||Drug trafficking, murder, assault, fraud, identity theft, illegal gambling, kidnapping, racketeering, robbery, extortion|
|Allies||Mexican Mafia, Russian Mafia, Crips,|
|Rivals||Mara Salvatrucha, Tooner Ville Rifa 13, Sureños, White Fence, Bloods|
Armenian Power, also known as AP, the Armenian Mafia, or the Armenian Mob is an Armenian American criminal organization located in Los Angeles County, California. They are involved in drug trafficking, murder, assault, fraud, identity theft, illegal gambling, kidnapping, racketeering, robbery and extortion. They are believed to have over 200 documented members and hundreds of associates, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Armenian Power Mob has strong ties to Russian organized crime, as organized crime in the Soviet Union was multi-ethnic and continues to be multi-ethnic in today's Russia. The gang also has some Hispanic members. In the summer of 1988, two dozen gang members took over the parking lot of a mini-mall in East Hollywood and turned it into their headquarters. They intimidated patrons of the mall's restaurants and clothing stores, forcing the shop owners to hire some off-duty LAPD officers for security.
The Armenian Power gang members usually wear the classic uniform of the barrio street gang: baggy khaki pants, pressed white T-shirts, hair nets, navy blue ski caps and 'Locs' brand styled sunglasses. Many are tattooed and armed.
The Armenian Power gang is composed of about 200 members, making it relatively small compared to many other ethnic gangs in the United States. In United States, Caucasian gangs in general composed only 14% of the total percentage of gangs versus other racial/ethnic groups.
Gang activity has never been reported in East Coast Armenian communities primarily composed of Armenians, Iranian-Armenians and Lebanese-Armenians .The unique ethnic composition of the Los Angeles area which had a strong presence of many different gangs played a major role in the creation of the Armenian Power gang.
According to the official FBI website: "The Southern California crime ring called Armenian Power may look like a traditional street gang—members identify themselves with tattoos and gang clothing—but the group is really an international organized crime enterprise whose illegal activities allegedly range from bank fraud and identity theft to violent extortion and kidnapping."
Armenian Power has had a history of conflict with Latino gang members in the past but it is thought to have simmered down in the past years. Armen "Silent" Petrosyan, a founder of Armenian Power, was shot to death on May 22, 2000 by Jose Argueta, a member of Latino gang White Fence. On May 24, 2000, Latino gang members shot an Armenian person outside a restaurant in Hollywood, California. It was recorded as the third clash involving Armenian and Latino gang members in that month. In 2000, a killing of a 17 year old Latino youth outside of Hoover High School by Armenian gang youth sparked dialogue to find ways to help stop violence between these groups.
Operation Power Outage
On February 16, 2011 during Operation Power Outage over 800 federal and local law enforcement authorities arrested nearly 100 people allegedly involved in Armenian organized crime in the Los Angeles area. Much of the crime was white collar in nature, including identity theft crimes such as credit card skimming. The range of crimes included kidnapping, fraud, extortion, identity theft, loansharking, robbery, witness intimidation, drug trafficking, drug charges including marijuana cultivation and bringing narcotics into prison, gun-related offenses, and murder.
Involvement in the Syrian Civil War
- "Ruthless Armenian Power gang hit by 74 arrests in huge crackdown on organised crime". Daily Mail. 17 February 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2012. "The group start as a street gang in East Hollywood, California, in the 1980s, identifying themselves with tattoos, graffiti and gang clothing... In all, the crime group is believed to have more than 200 members."
- Coleman, Wanda (1996). Native in a Strange Land: Trials & Tremors. Black Sparrow Press. p. 192. ISBN 978-1-57423-024-6.
- Krikorian, Michael (August 17, 1997). Violent Gang Is a Stain on a Proud Ethnic Community Series: The rise of a small street gang, Armenian Power, is causing a tragic cycle of fear and death. Los Angeles Times
- Glendalenewspress.com Eight plead guilty to involvement with Armenian crime ring
- "Russian Organized Crime". Fas.org. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- Lutton, Wayne. "Russian Mafia Invades California". The Social Contract. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- "Ruthless Armenian Power gang hit by 74 arrests in huge crackdown on organised crime". Daily Mail (London). February 17, 2011.
- Rodriguez, Luis (2003). Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times, p. 38. Seven Stories Press, ISBN 978-1-58322-564-6
- "Organized Crime and Gang Section". Justice.gov. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- "Survey Results: Gang member demographics, Race/Ethnicity". Ojjdp.gov. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- "Generational Impact of Mass Trauma" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- "Armenian Organized Crime Group Targeted". Fbi.gov. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- Rocha, Veronica. "Armenian gang associate gets 13 years in prison in identity-theft case". www.latimes.com. La Times. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
- "Armenian power associate sentenced to more than 13 years". armenpress.am. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
- Ryan, Harriet (September 19, 2003). Mark Geragos out of Peterson spotlight. CNN
- Yablonsky, Lewis (2005). Gangs in court. Lawyers & Judges Publishing Company, ISBN 978-1-930056-79-4
- Krikorkian, Michael (February 2, 2001). Gang Violence Claimed Man Who Tried to Change; Crime: The conviction of his killer closes the final chapter in the story of a former Armenian Power leader who was slain in inter-ethnic strife. Los Angeles Times
- Hong, Peter Y.; Gee, Elise (May 24, 2000). Latino Gang Killed Armenian Man, Police Say. Los Angeles Times
- Rodriguez, Luis (2003). Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times, p. 327. Seven Stories Press,, ISBN 978-1-58322-564-6
- Blankstein, Andrew (February 16, 2011). Nearly 100 charged, dozens arrested in operation targeting Armenian organized crime. Los Angeles Times
- Staff report (February 16, 2011). Arrests of Armenian Group in Calif. New York Times
- "Syria Civil War: Los Angeles Gang Duo Join President Assad".