PSEUDONYMNS: Dieciocho, Barrio 18, Mara 18
HISTORY: The 18th Street Gang is one of the largest street gangs in the United States, Mexico, and Central America. 18th Street originated in the 1960s near 18th Street and Union Avenue in downtown Los Angeles, California.
MEMBERSHIP:Membership was originally open to Mexican nationals, and although most members tend to be of Mexican descent, membership has now been opened to other ethnic backgrounds. 18th Street has a loose hierarchical structure. It is well networked throughout the US, Mexico, and Central America, but there is no known central leadership. The majority of 18th Street cliques are the result of Los Angeles members’ migrating to other areas and establishing cliques under their leadership. Members originally from the Los Angeles area tend to be more respected than those in other areas. Cliques generally function independently, but will join forces when combating rival gangs or law enforcement. The latest figures from the NDIC estimate 18th Street membership at 30,000 to 50,000 nationwide, with 5,000 to 7,000 based in the Los Angeles area.
LOCATIONS: 18th Street cliques have been identified in 27 states and the District of Columbia, as well as 10 foreign countries.