List of criminal enterprises, gangs, and syndicates

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The following is a listing of enterprises, gangs, mafias, and criminal syndicates that are involved in organized crime. Tongs and outlaw motorcycle gangs, as well as terrorist, militant, and paramilitary groups, are mentioned if they are involved in criminal activity for funding. However, since their stated aim and genesis is often ideological rather than commercial, they are distinct from mafia-type groups.

Drug cartels[edit]

In several drug-producing or transit countries, drug traffickers have taken advantage of local corruption and lack of law enforcement to establish cartels turning in millions if not billions of dollars each year. Sometimes if government enforcement is particularly poor, the cartels become quasi-paramilitary organizations.

Latin America[edit]





North American organized crime[edit]


United States[edit]

American Mafia[edit]

Italian immigrants to the United States in the early 19th century brought with them the underground government many Americans refer to as "Cosa Nostra" (Our Thing) along with its traditions and formal induction rituals along with the concepts and precepts of Omerta, which espouses honorable and manly behavior at all times and under all conditions,taking care your own problems and assisting your community, as well as non-cooperation with corrupt law enforcement and government officials. Many Italian-Americans around this same time also formed various small-time gangs which gradually evolved into sophisticated crime syndicates, but the nationwide organization known as "Cosa Nostra" has traditionally dominated organized crime in America for several decades. Although government crackdowns and a less-tightly knit Italian-American community have largely reduced its power, the American Mafia remains an active force in the underworld


Jewish mafia[edit]

African-American organized crime[edit]

Irish Mob[edit]

European organized crime[edit]

Italian organized crime[edit]

Organized crime in Italy, especially the south, has existed for hundreds of years and has given rise to a number of notorious organizations with their own traditions and subculture which have managed to infiltrate almost every part of Italian society.[43] The Italian mafia is often thought of as being the archetype for organized crime worldwide.

British organised crime "firms"[edit]

Balkan organized crime[edit]

Balkan organized crime gained prominence in the chaos following the communist era, notably the transition to capitalism and the wars in former Yugoslavia.

Post-Soviet organized crime[edit]

Although organized crime existed in the Soviet era, the gangs really gained in power and international reach during the transition to capitalism. The term Russian Mafia, 'mafiya' or mob is a blanket (and somewhat inaccurate) term for the various organized crime groups that emerged in this period from the 15 former republics of the USSR and unlike their Italian counterparts does not mean members are necessarily of Russian ethnicity or uphold any ancient criminal traditions, although this is the case for some members.

Caucasian crime syndicates[edit]

See also Caucasus Emirate

Central Asian crime syndicates[edit]

Asian organized crime[edit]

East Asian criminal organizations[edit]

Japanese Yakuza[edit]

See also Kenji Doihara's criminal activities and Aum Shinrikyo

The yakuza of Japan are similar to the Italian mafias in that they originated centuries ago and follow a rigid set of traditions, but have several aspects that make them unique, such as their full-body tattoos and their fairly open place in Japanese society. Many yakuza groups are umbrella organizations, smaller gangs reporting to a larger crime syndicate.

Active yakuza groups[edit]
Defunct yakuza groups[edit]


Hangure (半グレ, literally "half-grey") are considered to be“jun-bōryokudan(準暴力団, quasi-yakuza)” groups. The term half-grey in Japanese refers to groups that commit crimes, yet are not considered to fit the description of criminal organizations (referring to yakuza clans in this context). They mostly consist of Former Bōsōzoku teenagers and Former juvenile delinquents(also known as furyō(不良)) in middle and high schools, who became an adult[66] and refuse to join the Yakuza because of their dislike for traditional code of the Yakuza. Sometimes they outsource their crimes to their kōhai delinquents at Old Bōsōzoku group or Alma Mater as Senpai.

Hangures engage in activities such as loan sharking, drug-trafficking, prostitution, fraud(like a Voice phishing), Robbery, pornography, smuggling, theft, weapons trafficking(mainly Modified Model Guns capable of firing real ammunition or Real Handguns,[67] according to Ex-Hangure who was formerly in the Dragon[68]), and underground fight club.

Sam Gor, Triads and other Chinese criminal organizations[edit]

Sam Gor, also known as The Company, is an international crime syndicate, based in Asia-Pacific. The organization is made up of members of five different triads (14K (triad), Bamboo Union, Wo Shing Wo, Sun Yee On and Big Circle Boys). Sam Gor is understood to be headed by Chinese-Canadian Tse Chi Lop. The Cantonese Chinese syndicate is primarily involved in drug trafficking, earning at least $8 billion per year.[69] Sam Gor is alleged to control 40% or more of the Asia-Pacific methamphetamine market, while also trafficking heroin, ketamine and synthetic drugs, and precursor chemicals. The group is active or working with organized crime partners in a variety of countries, including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan and Vietnam." Sam Gor previously produced meth in Southern China and is now believed to manufacture mainly in the Golden Triangle, specifically Shan State, Myanmar, responsible for much of the massive surge of crystal meth in recent years.[70] The group is understood to be headed by Tse Chi Lop, a Chinese-Canadian gangster born in Guangzhou, China. Tse is a former member of the Hong Kong-based crime group, the Big Circle Gang and has been compared in prominence to Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán and Pablo Escobar.[71] Sam Gor is made up of 14K, Wo Shing Wo, Sun Yee On, Big Circle Gang and Bamboo Union. The group also does business with many other local crime groups such as the Yakuza in Japan and the Comanchero Motorcycle Club and Lebanese mafia in Australia.[71]

The Triads is a popular name for a number of Chinese criminal secret societies, which have existed in various forms over the centuries (see for example Tiandihui). However, not all Chinese gangs fall into line with these traditional groups, as many non-traditional criminal organizations have formed, both in China and the Chinese diaspora.

Southeast Asian criminal organizations[edit]

Vietnamese Xã Hội Đen[edit]

South Asian criminal organizations[edit]

Middle Eastern criminal organizations[edit]


Australian organized crime[edit]

Caribbean crime groups[edit]

African organized crime[edit]

Cybercrime networks[edit]

As society enters the Information Age, certain individuals take advantage of easy flow of information over the Internet to commit online fraud or similar activities. Often the hackers will form a network to better facilitate their activities. On occasion the hackers will be a part of a criminal gang involved in more 'blue collar crime', but this is unusual.

Drug and smuggling rings[edit]

Smuggling is a behavior that has occurred ever since there were laws or a moral code that forbade access to a specific person or object. At the core of any smuggling organization is the economic relationship between supply and demand. From the organization's point of view, the issues are what the consumer wants, and how much the consumer is willing to pay the smuggler or smuggling organization to obtain it.

Drug rings[edit]

Prison gangs[edit]

Prisons are a natural meeting place for criminals, and for the purposes of protection from other inmates and business prisoners join gangs. These gangs often develop a large influence outside the prison walls through their networks. Most prison gangs do more than offer simple protection for their members. Most often, prison gangs are responsible for any drug, tobacco or alcohol handling inside correctional facilities. Furthermore, many prison gangs involve themselves in prostitution, assaults, kidnappings and murders. Prison gangs often seek to intimidate the other inmates, pressuring them to relinquish their food and other resources. In addition, prison gangs often exercise a large degree of influence over organized crime in the "free world", larger than their isolation in prison might lead one to expect.

Prison gangs in the United States[edit]

Street gangs[edit]

Youth gangs have often served as a recruiting ground for more organized crime syndicates, where juvenile delinquents grow up to be full-fledged mobsters, as well as providing muscle and other low-key work. Increasingly, especially in the United States and other western countries, street gangs are becoming much more organized in their own right with a hierarchical structure and are fulfilling the role previously taken by traditional organized crime.

North America[edit]


Native American/Indigenous[edit]




Gangs in Canada[edit]


South America[edit]





Outlaw motorcycle clubs[edit]



See also[edit]


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