Things That Matter

From China To Mexico, The World’s Most Dangerous Cartels Have A Lot More In Common Than You Might Think

The world’s deadliest gangs all have something in common; they are uncompromising when it comes to maximizing profits. Many point to the film The Godfather as inpsiring an obsession in people of all types from all around the world wanting to own the world of gang warfare. It’s understandble. People are often fascinated by the lives that kingpins lead, we’re intrigued (and, you know, a little unnerved) by what potentially lurks in the underbelly of our cities.

But cartels and the violence they cause have been around for thousands of years – likely since the very beginning of human civilization. As crime rates continue to climb in cities across the world, what do today’s most dangerous and powerful cartels have in common? How to Mexican cartels compare to the Chinese 14K Triad?

Los Zetas

Zetas leader Omar Trevino Morales is presented to the press after being captured in 2015

Founded in 1999 by former members of an elite squad in the Mexican army, the U.S. government has identified it as one of the most dangerous drug cartels in Mexico. Recent strategies and policies enforced by the American government regarding the security of the U.S.-Mexico border were specifically executed with the intention of impeding major cartels like the Zetas. The gang has a history of bribing and corrupting local police forces and regularly recruit ex-federal, state and local police officers and U.S. soldiers to join their ranks 

Sinaloa Cartel

One of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in the world with a healthy appetite for violence and brutality (they film homicides and beheadings and post them on the internet as a warning to their rivals). Presumably building on the success and popularity of Narcos, Netflix and Univision recently announced a series based on the life of Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, the former leader of the infamous cartel – the actual El Chapo, currently imprisoned in New York, has hired a team of lawyers to prevent the series from being aired. According to Forbes, the group brings in approximately $3 billion per year and has a whopping 60% stake in the US/Mexican drug trade.

14K Triad

Wo Shing Wo triad boss among 151 arrested in raids across Hong Kong | South  China Morning Post

China’s 14K Triad is considered to be the second largest drug trafficking syndicate in the world. They are also involved in human trafficking, illegal gambling, counterfeiting, weapons trafficking, prostitution, kidnapping, money laundering, loan sharking, extortion, robbery, and murder. It has 20,000 members spread across the planet. The group has extensive ties to political officials on the mainland and have reportedly infiltrated police forces across the country.

Aryan Brotherhood

A gang whose terror is felt even amongst the criminals. The Aryan Brotherhood is mostly a prison gang, and thus stay concealed to the outside world. They are people filled with absolute hatred and are known for giving people the most painful deaths. They are held responsible for 1/4 of prison murders in the United States. They were founded in 1964 in San Quentin prison near San Francisco. Since 1964 they’ve earned the distinguishable title of the “most violent extremist group in the US,” by the Anti-Defamation League.

Mara Salvatrucha

MS-13 gang targeted in pre-dawn sweep across Los Angeles - CBS News

Originally from Southern California, the MS13 have setup shop in cities across the U.S. and back in El Salvador, where many members originated. This transnational criminal organization was created during El Salvador’s civil war in the 1980s, and has approximately 70,000 members around the world. Since 2015, there has been a whopping 70% increase in MS-13-related crimes and are widely considered to be one of the most dangerous and merciless gangs in the United States. It’s estimated the gang brings in $31.2 million per year, according to New York Times.

Jalisco New Generation (CJNG)

Formed in about 2010, the Jalisco cartel is the strongest and most aggressive competitor to the Sinaloa. The group has expanded rapidly across Mexico and is now one of the country’s most dominant organized crime groups. Its assets are thought to be worth more than $20 billion. The cartel is led by Ruben Oseguera, known as “El Mencho”, a former police officer who is Mexico’s most wanted man. The bounty for his capture? A cool $10 million.

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