Black Dragons (gang)
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|Founding location||Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Years active||1980-present (street-level) (Organized crime)|
|Ethnicity||Chinese and Vietnamese|
|Criminal activities||Extortion, Counterfeiting, prostitution, money laundering, illegal gambling, drug trafficking, racketeering, murder, assault, robbery, arms trafficking, auto theft, and burglary|
|Rivals||Bloods, Vice Lords, Crips, Asian Boyz, Viet Boyz, Wah Ching and Tiny Rascals|
The Black Dragons (traditional Chinese: 黑龍) is a Chinese-American Triad (secret society) and street gang that was formed in 1980 by Chinese immigrants in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles, California. It was started by a group of young men who bounded together to protect themselves from other Asian and Latino gangs. The Black Dragons operated in Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley for over two decades. At the gang's peak, it had over 100 core members, they may also be seen using the colors black and grey as their clothing.
The gang preyed on the Asian American communities as a source of income and is unique compared to other Asian crime groups as they were involved in both organized and street-level crime. The revenue from organized crime came mainly from extorting brothels, prostitution, money laundering, the distribution of narcotics, and counterfeiting merchandise. At street-level, the gang was involved in a wide range of crimes that included murder, robbery, home invasion and car theft.
The Black Dragon's influence was strong in the San Gabriel Valley, during the mid-1990s until its downfall in 2002. The gang gained the attention of federal authorities because of their involvement in violent criminal activities. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) opened a case against the Black Dragons in 1999. The FBI then created the Black Dragon Task force and the three-year investigation dubbed "Operation Back Door" led to the convictions of multiple gang members, stemming from murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, extortion, illegal possession of firearms and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charges. The gang was taken down in one of the largest gang sweeps of 2002, as federal agents simultaneously raided and arrested 30 of its core members.
It's an Asian gang with a history of violence identified as a top threat by various law enforcement agencies, according to FBI Agent Kerry Smith, who heads a unit that targets Asian criminal enterprise and violent crime. The unit is based out of the FBI's West Covina office. "These guys weren't afraid to commit violence," Smith said.
- Black Dragons (France), an anti-fascist black youth subculture inspired by the Black Panthers, greaser subculture and punk subculture
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- Katz, Jesse (27 July 1990). "5 Held in San Gabriel Valley Robberies : Crime: Authorities arrested 18 suspected 'Black Dragon' gang members. But 13 were released for lack of evidence in more than 30 crimes" – via LA Times.
- Pierson, David (21 June 2005). "Court May Have Slain Black Dragon" – via LA Times.
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