18th Street Gang

A Violent Transnational Criminal Street Gang

Often referred to as the Childrens Army


The 18th Street gang was created in the late 1960s in the Rampart area of Los Angeles.  They have been described as the most violent and aggressive street gang in the country. Over the past few years 18th Street quickly grew, but membership levels have appeared to reach a peak in many states. The 18th Street gang grew out of an older Los Angeles gang, the Clanton 14 street gang (after the street that was their home base) better known as Clanton 14 by locals. In the 1940's, Clanton Street was changed to 14th Place due to the high number of zoot suit Pachucos 'hanging-out', as well as the war effort's need for simple addresses. The Clanton gang was active in Los Angeles for decades and comprised several generations of well-established Mexicans living in America; more recent Mexican immigrants and Chicanos that wanted to join Clanton were rejected. From these rejects the 18th Street gang was born.

The gang has since grown to be California's most fragmental and largest street gang, with membership in the tens of thousands, with many satellite gangs. Out of this, it is estimated that about 60% of its members are illegal immigrants, according to a confidential report last year by the state's Department of Justice.  While the majority of the gang's activities occur in Los Angeles, the gang is active throughout the United States and other countries, including Canada, Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador. The gang is divided into five subsets or 'sides': North, East, South, West and South Central Los Angeles, Santa Ana LOPERS . Furthermore, each side has its own cliques or mini gangs. 18th Street gangsters are traditionally rivals with the Mara Salvatrucha. Other rivals include Florencia 13, 38th Street Gang, Clanton 14,West Side Via los Trackes, Madrid, and the Black P. Stones (Jungles). The gang was recently documented in Gangsters from 18 shown on the Crime Investigation  Network The gang was featured in an episode of Numb3rs, in which they were named the 18th Street Mexicali. The gang was also referred to in an episode of Shark as the 18th Street posse.

Gang markings

As with most gangs, 18th Street gang members can be easily identified by their tattoos. A common identifier is the number 18 (Spanish: diesciocho), which is usually represented in the Roman numeral (X8)(XVIII) (XV3) and sometimes they also use 666 or 99 (6+6+6=18 / 9+9=18). They also tattoo themselves with the word BEST, which stands for Barrio Eighteenth STreet. Members engage in graffiti to mark their territory.


18th Street gang members are required to abide by a strict set of rules. For instance, they are forbidden from using crack cocaine and other hard drugs. Failure to obey the word of a gang leader, or to show proper respect to a fellow gang member, may result in an 18-second beating, or even execution for more serious offenses. [3] According to the LAPD, some factions of the 18th Street gang have developed a high level of sophistication and organization. This is attributed to the gang's connections with Mexican and Colombian drug cartels. The 18th Street gang is occasionally referred to as the "Children's Army" because of its recruitment of elementary and middle-school aged youth.  18th Street gang members are most often seen wearing brown or black pants and a white T-shirt. Alternatively, gang members also wear jerseys from professional sports teams. 18th Street gang members are considered highly armed and dangerous


18th Street is a well established gang that is involved in all areas of criminal activity. Some members have even become involved in producing fraudulent Immigration and Naturalization identification cards and food stamps. Several 18th Street gang members have evolved into a higher level of sophistication and organization than other gangs. This progression is credited to the gang's close relationship with Mexican and Colombian drug cartels. They also have been linked to occurrences of murder, murder-for-hire, drug dealing, extortion, vandalism, drug smuggling, weapons trafficking, as well as other crimes.


18th Street Gang - Gang Violence


Main rivals

Their main rivals are:

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  Robert Walker
This page was last updated on 03/13/2014

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