American Gangster is the story of Frank Lucas and Leroy "Nicky" Barnes - their rise from street punks to the top of New York's 1970's high-flying drug market. The two men were considered the drug czars of Harlem at the height of the drug-fueled decade. Lucas and his gang "The Country Boys" claim to have smuggled heroin from Asia in the caskets of fallen American soldiers. Barnes, the leader of a cartel of African-American drug dealers called "The Council," made the cover of New York Times Magazine. The headline read "Mr. Untouchable." President Carter was so incensed, he personally ordered the Attorney General to go after him. The story is a violent, action-filled chronicle of Harlem and its kingpins.
In 2003, the body of a pregnant, teenaged informant was found along the banks of the bucolic Shenandoah River. She'd been repeatedly stabbed - her head nearly severed. Brenda Paz had been supplying the authorities with first-hand accounts of MS-13's operations. Paz had been one of 3,000 MS-13 members in the Washington, DC area. The increasingly violent and fast-growing gang operates from the sleepy, middle-class suburbs ringing the city.
Five bodies, riddled with bullets, found in a small apartment on the East Side of Los Angeles. Among the dead are a five-year-old boy and an infant girl, each shot in the head and chest. The mother and father of the children lay beside them on the floor, also soaked in blood. The target of the hit was the family's patriarch, Anthony "Dido" Moreno. He had dropped out of one of California's most notorious prison gangs and this was his payback. No witnesses, was the order. The gang he deserted was the Mexican Mafia. Since it's inception in the 1950's the "Black Hand" has been the prison system's most active shot-callers, controlling thousands of "foot soldiers" on the streets of Southern California. Most laws enforcement officials estimate that 300 homicides per year in LA County have some connection to the Mexican Mafia.
The Hells Angels are the most powerful and well-known biker club on the planet, boasting over 2500 members worldwide. In April 2002, a riot in a Nevada casino between the Hells Angels and their rivals, the Mongols, kills three gang members and creates headlines around the country. Federal authorities seize the opportunity and send a team of undercover agents to infiltrate the outlaw biker group. Along the way, they uncover a world of sex, rampant drug use, and vicious violence - employed to ensure the Hells Angel's place at the top of the biker world.
Home to 900 street gangs and over 80,000 gang members, the city of Los Angeles has the dubious title of "Gang Capital of the World." Territory means power and every gang in LA wants to expand their neighborhood boundaries by any means necessary. Since the 1990's, an ugly new development has surfaced in the gang wars of LA: Gangs are dividing by race. In neighborhoods such as Harbor Gateway, Highland Park, and Firestone, Hispanic gang members are targeting black civilians in an attempt to keep their territory free of the rival race.
King Lil Man," was found decapitated, dismembered, and burned in a bathtub. His Latin King's tattoo had been cut from his skin, his head and hands were never found. According to former Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Zabel, his murderers, fellow Latin King gang members, were "...actually driving around town in a cab with his head because "King Blood," their leader, needed proof of the murder." By the mid-1990's, the New York chapter of the Latin Kings had grown into the most violent and largest street gang every seen in the city. Lead by the murderous "King Blood," they left a path of mayhem that was only brought to an end by "Blood's" 18 guilty verdicts - eight of them for murder. His conviction was largely based on the 20,000 plus letters he wrote detailing the crimes the New York Latin Kings were perpetuating.
Graffiti reading: "Terror Town," "Cold Stone Soldier" and "Stones Run It" litters Chicago's Southside neighborhoods. It's the work of BPS, Chicago's second largest street gang. The gang has a long and colorful history with their founder - Jeff Fort - convicted in 1987 of plotting to carry out terrorist acts against the US government with the support of Libyan government. The FBI classified the group as a "terrorist threat," in the wake of 9/11.
Called the "shock troops" of the revolution, Skinheads form a particularly brutal element of the white supremacist movement. Violent hate-crimes are their method of intimidation and a preview of the race war they see as inevitable. It's a culture driven by the violent lyrics of racist rock, and fueled by hate.
Gangs have been in existence for as long as there have been humans. Daryl Gates, former Los Angeles Chief of Police suggests that there is something about human nature that draws many toward gangs-- the need for respect, security and acceptance. It makes little difference whether the country is totalitarian or democratic, whether the time is feudal or current.
Nuestra Familia. As the predominant Hispanic gang in Northern California, Nuestra Familia, or NF is primarily a prison gang. Compared to other prison gangs, NF's numbers on the inside are relatively small, yet they distinguish themselves through discipline and fear. They have adopted the battle cry "blood in, blood out," and made their rules official, scribing a 50-page constitution laying out their bylaws. Among them, "an automatic death sentence will be put on family member that turns traitor, coward or deserter. " NF also have tens of thousands of loyal followers on the streets known as Nortenos or Northerners. The main rival of NF has always been the Mexican Mafia, with their followers being the Surenos or Southerners.
"Basic Training" takes an inside look at the infiltration of street gangs into the United States military. Gang members in uniform are participating in serious criminal activity on or near U.S. military installations around the world. Our national security may be at risk as these gang members steal advanced weaponry, learn military tactics, distribute drugs and even commit murder.
During the late 1990's, the New York Metropolitan area was plagued by the random violence of a new breed of street gang: The United Blood Nation. Created in 1993 by Rikers Island inmate, Omar Portee, the UBN emulated the Bloods street gang on the West Coast, but was more randomly violent. Portee formed the UBN in an effort to unite the African-American prisoners against Hispanic gangs like the Latin Kings. Better known as "OG Mack," Portee led the UBN from behind prison walls, and eventually on the streets of New York. By the mid 1990's, like an epidemic, the Bloods had taken over the tri-state area, which had historically belonged to the Latin Kings. By the year 2000, the Bloods were the most violent gang on the East Coast- and OG-Mack became known as the Godfather of the East Coast Bloods.
Chicago's second-largest Latin gang, The Maniac Latin Disciples rule the northwest side of Chicago. Since their beginning in the early 1960's, the MLD's have grown so big, that in 2005, the US Attorney for Illinois, Patrick Fitzgerald, testified before Congress that the Disciples should be considered a "super gang." The gang has had to rely on strong leadership to control the thousands of foot soldiers on the streets. Revenge and betrayal are characteristics of the MLD's and the streets are battlefields for rival Hispanic gangs. Gangland takes you inside the twisted world of the MLD's.
Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow is a survivor in the gangland of San Francisco's Chinatown. In 1976, the 16-year-old moved to San Francisco with his family and quickly joined the Hop Sing Boys gang. On September 4, 1977, he was at the Golden Dragon restaurant when 3 Joe Boys gang members killed 5 innocent patrons after storming the popular restaurant looking for revenge against their rivals, the Wah Ching. The attack made international news and forever changed the landscape of Chinatown's underworld. In the ensuing years, and after two stays in California's prisons, Chow's power and influence was on the rise. In 1989, he partnered with Peter Chong, a leader of the Wo Hop To triad, to first consolidate all the gangs in San Francisco's Chinatown and then expand their criminal empire nationally. Although federal and local law enforcement would bring the group down, Chow would eventually end up back on the streets of San Francisco after testifying against his former friend and partner. Raymond Chow says he is now a changed man, but only time will tell if he's given up the life of a gangster.
Throughout the early 1990's, a war waged behind the scenes between the two largest motorcycle gangs in America - the Outlaws and the Hells Angels. The Outlaws traditionally made the Midwest their stronghold but now the Angels were pushing into their territory and courting another regional club, the Hell's Henchmen, to join them. The Outlaws responded viscously and decisively. By the time the war ended bikers from all three clubs had been murdered and the third largest car bomb in US history had exploded on a crowded Chicago street during rush hour. Federal and local law enforcement began vigorously pursuing the Outlaws culminating in successful prosecutions that exposed the violent world of these notorious 1%er's. Within a decade, two international presidents would be serving life sentences and Outlaws members could be found on both the FBI and ATF's most wanted sites. For a while, it seemed the Outlaws Motorcycle Club would fade from relevance but recent arrests this year - and continuing investigations - show that they are still functioning and once again expanding their influence through blood and violence around the world.
The Texas Syndicate. They are the most feared Tejano gang in the Lone Star State, yet few have heard of them. The Syndicate is managed like an elite business, with a reach that extends from behind prison walls to the far corners of Texas. They will break any law to generate revenue but the gang's bread and butter is drug trafficking for the Mexican cartels. Now Gangland unearths how the Texas Syndicate rose to power, and the destruction the left behind to get there.
"Crip or Die" exposes one of the most infamous and brutal street gangs- The Crips. The gang started as a rag-tag group of youth on LA's Eastside and quickly grew into a terrorizing force in South Central. Today, the Crips are the largest black gang in LA with over 10,000 members. Gang members give an inside look at the lifestyle called Crippin' where it is survive or die--kill or be killed.
Many gangs are organized, and some even incorporated, but not many can claim to have had federal funding, like the Vice Lords. This is just one of the many unique chapters in the 50 year history of this Chicago street gang. The Vice Lords are divided into many separate factions throughout the city of Chicago and the Unites States - although two men tried to unite the factions into one nation, one through legitimate means and community activism and another through intimidation, drugs and violence. Both failed - one ended up a legend and one in a wheel chair.
Mongols MC was created in 1970 by a group of disaffected, Hispanic Vietnam veterans. Almost 40 years later, the Mongols have gone from being party-hearty outlaws to hell-bent gangsters: many that came directly from some of Southern California's most violent street gangs - creating a conflict of allegiance with the powerful Mexican Mafia.
Through the 1980's, Chicago's most powerful street gang expanded at an unprecedented rate, with its membership eventually numbering some 30,000. When the city of Chicago wasn't enough territory, the gang spread to other cities throughout the Midwest, like Milwaukee. The GDs quickly gained control of smaller towns using the tried and true methods of fear, intimidation and violence. When the crack-cocaine epidemic hit, the Gangster Disciples were ready to take full advantage. The GD organization operated much like a Fortune 500 company, raking in profits estimated at one hundred-million dollars a year. In 1995, however, everything changed. A federal indictment took down 40 leaders of the Gangster Disciples, including the Chairman of the Board, Larry Hoover. After that, it was every man for himself. Through the eyes of Gangster Disciples we watch the rise and fall of a drug empire as greed and violence wash over an army of Gangsters.
"LA Bloods" gives the viewer an inside look at one of the most notorious and volatile black street gangs in the country. Through original interviews with law enforcement, interventionists, victim's family members and active and former gang members, the program examines the life, history and the vicious crimes perpetrated by the Bloods.
"Sin City" gives a firsthand account of the violent rise of street gangs in Las Vegas. Through interviews with the founder of the GQ's - the first bona fide West Coast - style street gang to take hold in Las Vegas - law enforcement, historians, victim's family members, and former gang members; the program examines the life, history, and future of Sin City's gang culture.
They are some of the most overlooked criminals in our country and among the most dangerous: They're girls in gangs. Their reasons for a life of crime may be different but like their male counterparts, these women crave respect and money. In Compton, California these women rule the streets and their crimes range from transporting drugs to murder. Of the approximately 800-thousand gang bangers in the United States, an estimated seventy thousand are female. In Los Angeles alone, there are some five thousand. There are many reasons why these women turn to gang life. Many come from broken homes and are looking for support. Gangland takes you inside the twisted world of female gang members.
History explores that world of La Gran Familia (LGF), a violent crime syndicate of five Hispanic gangs that terrorized the streets of metro Atlanta. Through interviews with gang members, law enforcement officials, and a confidential informant, this episode reveals the life, history, and current state of Atlanta's most notorious gang, LGF.