Trinitario is a Hispanic organization formed in prison, providing protection and unity for Hispanic inmates within the New York City Department of Corrections. The name "Trinitario" means the Trinity Brotherhood in Spanish. The public wrongly associates their name with the La Trinitaria secret society that served as the keystone in the quest for independence in the Dominican Republic. Members view themselves as being, like the founding fathers, freedom fighters and protectors for Hispanic people, though, in this case, within the New York City Department of Corrections. It was originally composed of members of smaller, now-defunct Hispanic gangs such as Los Papi Chulos, Dominican Power, and Dominican Posse, as well as unaffiliated drug dealers. Many members remained affiliated with the gang after serving their sentences, and began recruiting in their neighborhoods, the path many prison gangs take as they become street gangs.
They are known (as featured on an episode of Gangland) for the use of the machete as their weapon of choice.
About 30,000 members worldwide (Spain, Dominican Republic etc.). One of the largest street gangs in NYC with over 10,000 members, and 10,000 more in other states like Florida, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Trinitario is one of New York City's most violent and fastest rising street gangs. With their reach spreading into neighboring New Jersey and beyond, these machete-wielding Latino gangsters are now battling older, more established gangs, like the Latin Kings, DDP, Bloods and Crip gangs for control of the streets and the lucrative east coast drug market. What started as a prison gang has now become a dominant presence in the boroughs and the suburbs; as they prey on communities in the Tri-State area, Trinitarios are quickly rising on the radar of law enforcement agencies.
According to New York Law Enforcement, the Trinitarios are the fastest growing gang in New York. According to the FBI National Gang Assessment for 2010, the Trinitarios have become a threat on the East Coast. In addition, they have become an emerging gang in the New England area.