Armenian Power

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Armenian Power 13
Armenian Power graffiti.jpg
Armenian Power graffiti in Little Armenia
Years active Late 1980s - present[1]
Territory Hollywood intersections Normandie Avenue, Hollywood Blvd, Little Armenia, Glendale, some members in New York City and New Jersey
Ethnicity Armenians
Criminal activities Drug trafficking, murder, assault, fraud, identity theft, illegal gambling, kidnapping, racketeering, robbery, extortion.[2]
Allies Mexican Mafia, Russian Mafia
Rivals Mara Salvatrucha, Tooner Ville Rifa 13, White Fence, Bloods, 18th Street gang

Armenian Power, also known as West Side AP XIII,[3] AP, the Armenian Mob,[4][5] or Armenian Mafia[6][7] is an Armenian American criminal organization and street gang located in Los Angeles County, California.[8] They are involved in drug trafficking, murder, assault, fraud, identity theft, illegal gambling, kidnapping, racketeering, robbery and extortion.[1] They are believed to have over 150 documented members[1] and hundreds of associates, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.[9]

History[edit]

Armenian Power 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.[10][11] Although a lot of member of this gang are skinheads, it also has some Hispanic and black members.[12] 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.

By mid-1997 the Armenian Power gang was believed to be responsible for a dozen driveby murders.[13]

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.[14][15]

Gang activity has never been reported in East Coast, Midwestern, Northern or Southern Armenian-American communities primarily composed of Van (central) Armenians, Syrian-Armenians and Iraqi-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.[16]

Though on the street-level Armenian Power may seem to be merely a loosely organized youth street gang, the street gang component is merely one aspect of the organization, with younger street gang members often serving as the enforcement arm or "soldiers" for a more organized Armenian-American criminal organization consisting of higher-up members. Armenian Power's status as a highly organized crime group rather than simply a street gang became apparent when Armenian-American gangsters were found to be involved in the 2010 Medicaid fraud case and the 2011 FBI-led Operation Power Outage. 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."[17]

Latino-Armenian conflict[edit]

Armenian Power has had a history of conflict with Latino gang members in the past but it is thought to have simmered down in recent years.[18][19] Armen "Silent" Petrosyan, a founder of Armenian Power, was shot to death on May 22, 2000 by Jose Argueta, a member of the Latino gang White Fence.[20] 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.[21] In 2000, a killing of a 17-year-old Latino outside of Hoover High School by Armenian gang youth sparked dialogue to find ways to help stop violence between these groups.[22]

Operation Power Outage[edit]

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.[23][24] 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[edit]

In 2014, two Los Angeles gang members, one belonging to Armenian Power and the other a Sureño, were videotaped in Syria fighting on the side of the Assad government. [25]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "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. 
  2. ^ "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. 
  3. ^ Coleman, Wanda (1996). Native in a Strange Land: Trials & Tremors. Black Sparrow Press. p. 192. ISBN 978-1-57423-024-6. 
  4. ^ Fox, Hayley (July 3, 2014). "TAKING DOWN ARMENIAN POWER, CALIFORNIA'S MODERN MAFIA". LA Weekly. Retrieved 14 December 2015. 
  5. ^ Watkins, Thomas. "Armenian mob's power seen in foiled Medicare fraud ring". Associated Press. Daily Breeze. Retrieved 14 December 2015. 
  6. ^ "Proud to Be Armenian: 99 gang members indicted in bust of crime syndicate" (February 17, 2011). Armenia Now. Retrieved 14 December 2015. 
  7. ^ "100 CHARGED IN ARMENIAN MAFIA SWEEP ~ LOS ANGELES". L.A. Taco. Retrieved 14 December 2015. 
  8. ^ 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
  9. ^ Glendale News Press (11 September 2013). "Eight plead guilty to involvement with Armenian crime ring". Glendale News Press. Retrieved 17 January 2015. 
  10. ^ "Russian Organized Crime". Fas.org. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  11. ^ Lutton, Wayne. "Russian Mafia Invades California". The Social Contract. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  12. ^ "Ruthless Armenian Power gang hit by 74 arrests in huge crackdown on organised crime". Daily Mail (London). February 17, 2011. 
  13. ^ Rodriguez, Luis (2003). Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times, p. 38. Seven Stories Press, ISBN 978-1-58322-564-6
  14. ^ "Organized Crime and Gang Section". Justice.gov. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  15. ^ "Survey Results: Gang member demographics, Race/Ethnicity". Ojjdp.gov. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  16. ^ "Generational Impact of Mass Trauma" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  17. ^ "Armenian Organized Crime Group Targeted". FBI. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  18. ^ Ryan, Harriet (September 19, 2003). Mark Geragos out of Peterson spotlight. CNN
  19. ^ Yablonsky, Lewis (2005). Gangs in court. Lawyers & Judges Publishing Company. ISBN 978-1-930056-79-4.
  20. ^ 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
  21. ^ Hong, Peter Y.; Gee, Elise (May 24, 2000). Latino Gang Killed Armenian Man, Police Say. Los Angeles Times
  22. ^ Rodriguez, Luis (2003). Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times, p. 327. Seven Stories Press. ISBN 978-1-58322-564-6.
  23. ^ Blankstein, Andrew (February 16, 2011). Nearly 100 charged, dozens arrested in operation targeting Armenian organized crime. Los Angeles Times
  24. ^ Staff report (February 16, 2011). Arrests of Armenian Group in Calif. New York Times
  25. ^ "Syria Civil War: Los Angeles Gang Duo Join President Assad". 

External links[edit]