Following is an excerpt from the book The Rough Guide to True Crime, which includes a section on organized crime. Within that is an overview about the street gangs of Los Angeles.
Successive waves of migration to the West Coast have resulted in California being home to a bewildering array of street gangs, hiker gangs, Triads, and other criminal outfits.
Other lesser-known groups include Mongols MC, a motorcycle band founded in 1969 and based in the southern part of the state (although it has chapters elsewhere, including in Scandinavia). The Mongols have a record of being successfully infiltrated by federal agents, leading to arrests and convictions for violent crimes and racketeering. In October 2008, a judge granted a controversial injunction to ban the club logo, which depicts a Mongolian warrior wearing shades. Also active are the Satanas, a Filipino American street gang in Los Angeles, the United Bamboo Gang, a large Taiwanese Triad; the Mars 18, one of several gangs whose membership is largely drawn from L.A.’s El Salvadorian, Guatemalan and Honduran communities (the gang is known simply as El Criminal in El Salvador); and the Black Guerrilla Family, an African-American prison gang with a tough agenda of overthrowing the government.