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Armenian Power 13, also known as AP,[6] the Armenian Mob,[7][8] or Armenian Mafia[9][10] is an Armenian criminal organization and street gang located in Los Angeles County, California.[11] They are involved in drug trafficking, murder, assault, fraud, identity theft, illegal gambling, kidnapping, racketeering, robbery and extortion.[1] They are believed to have over 200 documented members[1] and hundreds of associates, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.[12]

Armenian Power 13
Armenian Power graffiti.jpg
Armenian Power graffiti in Little Armenia
Years activeLate 1980s - present[1]
TerritoryGlendale, Hollywood intersections, Hollywood Blvd, Little Armenia, North Hollywood, Normandie Avenue, some members in New York City and New Jersey
EthnicityArmenian American
Criminal activitiesDrug trafficking, murder, assault, fraud, identity theft, illegal gambling, kidnapping, racketeering, robbery, extortion.[2]
AlliesMexican Mafia
Crips
Sureños[3][4][5]
RivalsMS-13
Toonerville Rifa 13
White Fence
Bloods

Contents

HistoryEdit

According to a 1996 report by the Office of the California Attorney General, Armenian Power has strong ties to Russian organized crime.[13] In the summer of 1988, two dozen gang members took over the parking lot of a mini-mall in East Hollywood and turned it into their headquarters. They intimidated patrons of the mall's restaurants and clothing stores, forcing the shop owners to hire some off-duty LAPD officers for security.

By mid-1997 the Armenian Power gang was believed to be responsible for a dozen driveby murders.[14]

AP leadership also maintains ties to Armenia and Russia and deals directly with high level Armenian/Russian organized crime figures.[15]

Gang activity has never been reported in East Coast, Midwestern, Northern or Southern Armenian-American communities primarily composed of Van (central) Armenians, Syrian-Armenians and Iraqi-Armenians. The unique ethnic composition of the Los Angeles area, which had a strong presence of many different gangs, played a major role in the creation of the Armenian Power gang.[16]

Though on the street-level Armenian Power may seem to be merely a loosely organized youth street gang, the street gang component is merely one aspect of the organization, with younger street gang members often serving as the enforcement arm or "soldiers" for a more organized Armenian-American criminal organization consisting of higher-up members. Armenian Power's status as a highly organized crime group rather than simply a street gang became apparent when Armenian-American gangsters were found to be involved in the 2010 Medicaid fraud case and the 2011 FBI-led Operation Power Outage. According to the official FBI website: "The Southern California crime ring called Armenian Power may look like a traditional street gang—members identify themselves with tattoos and gang clothing—but the group is really an international organized crime enterprise whose illegal activities allegedly range from bank fraud and identity theft to violent extortion and kidnapping."[17]

Chicano-Armenian conflictEdit

Today the Mexican Mafia and Armenian Power work together to commit criminal activities in the Los Angeles area.[18]

Armenian Power has had a history of conflict with Mexican American gang members in the past but it is thought to have simmered down in recent years.[19][20] Armen "Silent" Petrosyan, a founder of Armenian Power, was shot to death on May 22, 2000 by Jose Argueta, a member of the Mexican American gang White Fence.[21][22] In 2000, a killing of a 17-year-old Chicano outside of Hoover High School by Armenian gang youth sparked dialogue to find ways to help stop violence between these groups.[23]

Operation Power OutageEdit

On February 16, 2011 during Operation Power Outage over 900 federal and local law enforcement authorities arrested nearly 100 people allegedly involved in Armenian organized crime in the Los Angeles area. Much of the crime was white collar in nature, including identity theft crimes such as credit card skimming.[24][25] The range of crimes included kidnapping, fraud, extortion, identity theft, loansharking, robbery, witness intimidation, drug trafficking, drug charges including marijuana cultivation and bringing narcotics into prison, gun-related offenses, and murder.

Involvement in the Syrian Civil WarEdit

In 2014, two Los Angeles gang members, one belonging to Armenian Power and the other a Sureño, were videotaped in Syria fighting on the side of the Assad government.[26]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Ruthless Armenian Power gang hit by 74 arrests in huge crackdown on organised crime". Daily Mail. 17 February 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2012. The group start as a street gang in East Hollywood, California, in the 1980s, identifying themselves with tattoos, graffiti and gang clothing... In all, the crime group is believed to have more than 200 members.
  2. ^ "Ruthless Armenian Power gang hit by 74 arrests in huge crackdown on organised crime". Daily Mail. 17 February 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2012. The group start as a street gang in East Hollywood, California, in the 1980s, identifying themselves with tattoos, graffiti and gang clothing... In all, the crime group is believed to have more than 200 members.
  3. ^ "LA gangbangers fighting for Assad in Syria". YouTube. 2014-03-03. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  4. ^ Facebook Twitter email Print Article AA (2014-03-05). "The Mysterious Case of L.A. Gangsters in Syria". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  5. ^ Speri, Alice (2014-03-05). "LA Gang 'Homies' Claim to Be Fighting in Syria | VICE News". News.vice.com. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  6. ^ Coleman, Wanda (1996). Native in a Strange Land: Trials & Tremors. Black Sparrow Press. p. 192. ISBN 978-1-57423-024-6.
  7. ^ Fox, Hayley (July 3, 2014). "TAKING DOWN ARMENIAN POWER, CALIFORNIA'S MODERN MAFIA". LA Weekly. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  8. ^ Watkins, Thomas. "Armenian mob's power seen in foiled Medicare fraud ring". Daily Breeze. Associated Press. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Proud to Be Armenian: 99 gang members indicted in bust of crime syndicate" (February 17, 2011). Armenia Now. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  10. ^ "100 CHARGED IN ARMENIAN MAFIA SWEEP ~ LOS ANGELES". L.A. Taco. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  11. ^ Krikorian, Michael (August 17, 1997). Violent Gang Is a Stain on a Proud Ethnic Community Series: The rise of a small street gang, Armenian Power, is causing a tragic cycle of fear and death. Los Angeles Times
  12. ^ Glendale News Press (11 September 2013). "Eight plead guilty to involvement with Armenian crime ring". Glendale News Press. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  13. ^ "Russian Organized Crime". Office of the California Attorney General. March 1996.
  14. ^ Rodriguez, Luis (2003). Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times, p. 38. Seven Stories Press, ISBN 978-1-58322-564-6
  15. ^ "Armenian Power Organized Crime Group Targeted in Federal Indictments That Allege Racketeering Offenses, Including Bank Fraud Schemes, Kidnappings, and Drug Trafficking".
  16. ^ "Generational Impact of Mass Trauma" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-17.
  17. ^ "Armenian Organized Crime Group Targeted". FBI. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
  18. ^ "Armenian Power Leader Sentenced to 32 Years in Prison for Racketeering, Extortion and Fraud".
  19. ^ Ryan, Harriet (September 19, 2003). Mark Geragos out of Peterson spotlight. CNN
  20. ^ Yablonsky, Lewis (2005). Gangs in court. Lawyers & Judges Publishing Company. ISBN 978-1-930056-79-4.
  21. ^ Krikorkian, Michael (February 2, 2001). Gang Violence Claimed Man Who Tried to Change; Crime: The conviction of his killer closes the final chapter in the story of a former Armenian Power leader who was slain in inter-ethnic strife. Los Angeles Times
  22. ^ HONG, PETER Y.; GEE, ELISE (2000-05-24). "Latino Gang Killed Armenian Man, Police Say". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
  23. ^ Rodriguez, Luis (2003). Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times, p. 327. Seven Stories Press. ISBN 978-1-58322-564-6.
  24. ^ Blankstein, Andrew (February 16, 2011). Nearly 100 charged, dozens arrested in operation targeting Armenian organized crime. Los Angeles Times
  25. ^ Staff report (February 16, 2011). Arrests of Armenian Group in Calif. New York Times
  26. ^ "Syria Civil War: Los Angeles Gang Duo Join President Assad".

External linksEdit