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VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Joshua Schasny
It would be a crime not to be aware of these groups. For this list, we'll be looking at criminal organizations that have risen to prominence based on their historical legacies, infamous illegal activities, and notoriety. Welcome to WatchMojo and today Rebecca's counting down our picks for the top ten criminal organizations from around the world.

It would be a crime not to be aware of these groups. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten criminal organizations from around the world.

For this list, we’ll be looking at criminal organizations that have risen to prominence based on their historical legacies, infamous illegal activities, and notoriety.

#10: Crips & Bloods

The Crips, sometimes called the Original Crip Homies (OCH), were founded in the late-1960s as a unified group of disillusioned African-American youths facing urban hardship in Los Angeles. The Crips eventually became one of the leading gangs in America, with a reputed 35,000 active members over 800 sets, or factions, nationwide, as of 2008. Shortly after their founding, the (OBF) Original Blood Family, or the Bloods, formed as a countermeasure to the Crips, leading to a decades-long feud between the two groups. Recognized by various differing hand signals and opposing color schemes, the Crips and the Bloods have gained a reputation for violence, urban gang warfare, narcotics trading, and maintain a menacing presence in their respective neighborhoods to this day.

#9: Irish Mob

Spanning back to the late 1800s, the Irish Mob initially began as a series of street gangs focused on protection and bootlegging in North American port cities like Manhattan, Boston, and Montreal. The North Side Gang of Chicago was particularly prominent during the Prohibition era, especially as a rival to the Chicago Outfit in the South, led by Johnny Torrio and Al Capone. Eventually transcending the street violence and entering politics and police departments, the Irish Mob managed to enter into society’s highest circles, giving certain affiliated mobsters near celebrity status. Certain notorious groups gained international notoriety, such as James Joseph "Whitey" Bulger’s Winter Hill Gang in Boston, and Montreal’s West End Gang, the latter of which has existed since the early 1900s. Meanwhile, the Irish Mob in Ireland came into existence much later, only starting to be active in the 1960s.

#8: D-Company

If one was to look into criminal activity in India, they will most likely come across D-Company, a violent and massive syndicate that deals in extortion, large-scale fraud, and terrorist activity. Amid various notorious members, D-Company’s kingpin, Dawood Ibrahim, has been labeled as India’s Al Capone and has been evading international authorities since his violent rise to the top of India’s criminal underworld in the 1970s. D-Company has various business ties, such as reported links to the Bollywood film industry, as well as affiliations with known terrorist groups, most notably Al-Qaeda, in which they allegedly ran guns for Osama Bin-Laden. Ibrahim is, as of 2011, number three on The World's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list.

#7: Hells Angels

Formed during the post-WWII boom of returning American veterans, the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club has garnered quite a reputation. The group’s constant denial of criminal activity and association with various mob outfits worldwide have given the Hells Angels a near-mythical image, which is an anti-hero persona they gladly play into. However, police organizations have listed the Hells Angels as one of the “big four” motorcycle gangs, and members have been busted for extortion, violent crime, drug dealing, prostitution and more. While members insist they are just Harley-Davidson enthusiasts, the numbers add up to a different story, with the Quebec Biker turf war in Montreal that saw the deaths of at least 150 and the jailing of over 100 bikers between 1994 and 2002. In 2019, the Netherlands became the first country to ban the club.

#6: Triad

Dating back to the 18th century, the Triad was originally part of a series of clandestine societies in China that survived through British occupation and eventually driven even further underground by the Chinese Communist Party in the 20th century. Focused on such illegal activities such as drug dealing, counterfeiting, and prostitution, Triad members enforce strict codes of conduct and organizational pride. Like many criminal organizations, Triad initiates must go through ritualistic inauguration processes and oaths of secrecy. With reputed connections to outside countries, the mainland Chinese criminal organization remains one of the most feared, and secretive, crime syndicates in the world, with Triad branches in multiple countries.

#5: Russian Mafia

One of the most well-organized criminal organizations in the world, the Russian Mafia has a long legacy originating from the imperial period of the 1720s, but its violent and intimidating reputation was cemented during the Soviet era with forced labor camp leaders. Many factions of the Russian Mafia have successfully dabbled in politics, business, narcotics, and the Black Market around the globe. Initially dubbed “thieves-in-law” (vory v zakone), operatives in the Russian Mob are known for their recognizable but cryptic tattoos and imposing methods of business. Chief among Russian Mafia chapters is the Solntsevskaya Bratva, an extremely wealthy and successful organization that’s been associated with murder and economic scandals.

#4: Cali Cartel

The cocaine boom in the late 1970s led to the creation of one of the wealthiest drug cartels in history: The Cali Cartel. Initially a splinter faction of Pablo Escobar’s Medellín Cartel (xref), the Cali Cartel operated mostly out of Colombia, but with a long international reach. Not solely based around a central figurehead, the Cali Cartel’s more independent structure led to its capitalizing on the drug market, operating in almost every circle of society, and going as high as politics and the military. And while it is not in operation anymore with the last of its major heads arrested in the mid-’90s, the Cali Cartel was a multi-billion-dollar operation and left an indelible mark on the drug trade.

#3: Mexican Cartels

Imposing in stature, and highly protective of their own, the Mexican Cartels have made a name for themselves with what’s been described as their violent bordering on barbaric tactics and militant structure. While highly successful in their operations, various cartels have found themselves embroiled in turf wars in their home country, leading to aggressive conflicts resulting in cartel and civilian casualties. By reportedly intimidating journalists who dig too deep into their affairs, and rigging elections, the Cartels have entrenched themselves in their local areas, and earned the rep as a ruthless force to be reckoned with.

#2: Yakuza

Dating back to the Edo Period, and with one of the strictest honor-codes of any criminal gang, the Yakuza are one of the oldest crime syndicates. Although listed as “” by the Japanese police and press, the Yakuza consider themselves above the law and a “chivalrous organization.” With power divided between four main clans, the reach of the Yakuza is huge, embedding their severe nationalist ideas into communities. However, they are often quick to assist in disaster relief, such as in the 1995 Kobe Earthquake and 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, offering relief and distributing aid reportedly faster than the government. But they are no dark knights; they are said to deal in human trafficking, and have shady links to banking and government.

#1: Sicilian Mafia

Immortalized on film and in the media, the Sicilian Mafia is one of the most infamous criminal groups in history. Beginning in Sicily in the early 19th century and eventually extending to and capitalizing on the opportunities in early 20th century America, as well as other parts of the world, the Sicilian Mafia, known internally as Cosa Nostra, has been linked to numerous criminal rackets, spanning from money laundering, gangland violence, protection rackets, and even rumoured ties to high-profile assassinations. With the likes of Vito Cascioferro and Luciano Leggio among the mythologized mobsters responsible for the idea of the “gentleman” mafia boss or gangster, the Sicilian Mafia is truly ‘la stessa cosa,’ and inseparable from its image.

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%uD83E%uDD23%uD83E%uDD23%uD83E%uDD23%uD83E%uDD23%uD83E%uDD23%uD83E%uDD23%uD83E%uDD23 who made this!? Blood and crips?? Mexicans? They diffrent and enamys u stupid cunt! "The greatest crimegang in history is the Italian/russian/columbian/mexican! If u dont belive me i get paid for doing this list and i dont know"
LMAOOOO no fucking way the Yakuza or Sicilian Mafia have more power than any Mexican cartels. CJNG and Sinaloa are fighting proxy wars with each other in Central and South America. What a joke assessment.
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