|Founded by||Mehmet Arif and his brothers Dennis and Dogan|
|Founding location||South London|
|Ethnicity||British Turks (Turkish Cypriot)|
|Criminal activities||Drug trafficking, armed robbery, Bribery, Arms trafficking, Assault, extortion, fraud, Skim, money laundering, murder, Attempted murder|
|Allies||Clerkenwell crime syndicate, Turkish mafia|
The Arifs are a South East London-based Turkish Cypriot criminal organization heavily involved in armed robbery, contract killing, drug trafficking and other racketeering-related activities within London's underworld since the late 1960s. Following the downfall of the Kray brothers, the Arifs were one of several criminal organizations who took control of the London underworld including the Clerkenwell crime syndicate and the Brindle family with whom they were engaged in a highly publicized gangland war during the 1990s.
The Arifs themselves were considered the leading crime family in the London area throughout the late 1980s before the arrest and conviction of most of its leadership, including most of the Arif family members, for armed robbery and drug-related offences in early 1990s. In 2004, the Irish Daily Mirror called the Arifs "Britain's No 1 crime family." And also by some media outlets in 2016.
They are Turkish-Cypriot in origin have been operating in South-East London since the 1960s. After the demise of the Kray brothers, several criminal enterprises attempted to move into the vacuum left behind. The Clerkenwell Crime Syndicate, the Brindle family and the Arifs all fancied a piece of the pie. In fact they fancied the whole pie eventually which, in the 1990s led to a violent gang war between the Arif’s and the Brindles. The Arifs are known to be, or to have been involved in racketeering, drug smuggling, armed robbery and murders. The gang is led by brothers Dennis, Mehmet and Dogan Arif but more brothers are involved in the various operations.
As with many organised crime gangs, the nature of their operations means it’s often difficult to determine the extent of their current influence and activity. What we do know is that during the early 1990s and while they were waging a turf war with the Brindles, the police had mounted a huge operation against them leading to the conviction and imprisonment of most of the leadership, including various family members.
In November 1990, Denis and Mehmet, wearing Ronald Reagan masks and wielding shotguns, were arrested in Woodhatch (Reigate, Surrey) as they attempted to rob a Securicor van. Mehmet Arif, who was driving a pick-up used in the robbery, was shot by police, but survived. His passenger, Kenneth Baker, was armed with a sawn-off shotgun, and was shot dead as he attempted to open fire on officers.
Bekir Arif, 52, known as "The Duke", one of seven brothers in the family, was convicted of conspiracy to supply 100 kg of heroin worth £12.5 million in 1999 and given a 23-year term of imprisonment. Dogan Arif, also jailed for drug smuggling, is said to be controlling the family fortune from prison. Their family is said to maintain ties with relations in Turkey who oversee shipments arriving in mainland Europe.
Despite this however, they still maintain a name as one of the most feared London families meaning that their acts of criminality have not decreased noticeably. Some sources believe that the organisation is run from prison, largely by Dogan Arif and they are known to maintain drug-related ties with Turkey.
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