18th Street Gang in Los Angeles County | Shatto Park | Columbia Lil Cycos | Alsace | Red Shield | South Central | Smiley Dr | Rimpau | 106th | Grand View

Home > Hispanic Gangs > 18th Street

By Alex Alonso Staff Writer Streetgangs
updated December 22, 2002
updated June 25, 2008


“The spread of 18th Street’s violence is shown by 154 murders linked to the gang from 1985 to 1995. This only plots homicides within Los Angeles where the killings have been tied to the gang.” The killings on the map show 18th Street as both victims and assailants of murder and one can see a concentration west of the 110 Freeway near downtown Los Angeles, November 17-19, 1996.

In Los Angeles the 18th Street gang is considered the largest gang in Los Angeles County but that label is very misleading. Even though 18th Street are estimated to have approximately 15,000 members in Los Angeles County, they are actually a collection of approximately 20 separate individual autonomous gangs operating under the same label with separate barrios in the San Fernando Valley, the San Gabriel Valley, the South Bay, South Los Angeles, Downtown Los Angeles, Pico Union, Inglewood, and Cudahy. Some estimates of the 18th Street are as low as 8,000 members. The notoriety of the gang is based on four distinct barrios, three near downtown Los Angeles west of the Staple’s Center and the 110 Freeway, and one in the West Adams area.

The individual factions can number from 50 to several hundred members and they are dispersed throughout the County, but their strong hold and their oldest barrio is located in the Pico Union (Grand View, Hoover clicks) area east of the Staples Center between the Harbor 110 Freeway (east) and Hoover Ave (west). Slightly to the north, are two other barrios in the Shatto Park and MacArthur Park (Colombia Lil Cycos click) areas. There are also two significant size 18th Street Barrios in South LA, one between Vernon (north) and Slauson (south) along Vermont Avenue and the second one being between Florence (north) and 91st Street (south). One of the most infamous 18th Street neighborhoods would be in the West Adams (Smiley, Alsace, Lil Lowks) because member Catorina Gonzales was convicted for killing LAPD officer Filbert Cuesta in 1998, and more recently, member Pedro Espinoza was charged in the murder of High School star athlete Jamiel Shaw stemming from the conflict with the Bloods.

The media often states that 18th Street is the largest gang in Los Angeles, but the largest single Hispanic gang in terms of turf size and membership would be one of 18th Street’s main rivals, the Florencia 13 gang that has a turf that stretches from Western (west) to Compton Avenues (east). Members of this gang were indicted by the Federal Government in a RICO case in 2007 on drug trafficking and murder charges.

Historical Background

The 18th Street gang formed around 1965 in the Pico Union area when members of larger Westside Clanton 14th Street neighborhood decided to start a new click. Originally, 18th Street was a click of the bigger Clanton 14th Street neighborhood (Frist Hood) who had another neighborhood, Eastside Clanton that was split by the freeway construction of the early 1950s.

As membership of Clanton grew, newer members who lived off of 18th Street decided to start Clanton 18th Street. Forming a new click of a gang can sometimes be a challenge, because some members may look at it as an action that does not unify but separates the neighborhood, and possibly creates division between members that will be forced to choose sides during a conflict. On the other hand, adding a click can expand the turf, bring in more members, and make the neighborhood appear to be stronger.

There is usually a protocol to creating a new click and each neighborhood is different when it comes to that, but ultimately Clanton 14 core members did not approve of having Clanton 18. One of the reasons why original Clanton members began to reject the 18th click, was because it was being led by a non Mexican-American, named Rocky Lee Glover (b. 1950 – ).

The new click members had to make a decision between falling in line with Clanton 14 and the strict rule of Mexican-Americans only, or take a defiant position to start their own gang and create Varrio 18th Street.

Some decided to stay with the more established Clanton identity, but Rocky Glover and a dozen other teens decided to just simply dropped the Clanton off their name and then became rivals against them. As the years progressed, Clanton lost most of their first westside hood in the Pico-Union area, and today that area is completely dominated by 18th Street and a few other gangs. Other early 18th Street members during the 1960s included Beto, Eddie Boy, Goofy, Indio, Penguin, Tank, Toro and Smiley who were initially Clanton members of the 1st hood that all decided to take their click into another direction.

Clanton did not disappear though as their neighborhood in Hollywood off Beverly has survived and their other Eastside neighborhood still exists in two areas. Most gangs today have clicks and there is usually little resistance from the rest of the gang when members want to start a new click, because there is a perceived benefit to the entire gang as outsiders will assume the gang is growing, and it provides a psychological edge against their rivals.

Through a small act of defiance, one of the most well known gangs was born in Los Angeles. Because of its aggressive recruiting techniques of accepting members even if they were not Mexican-American, the name of this gang has caught on and has been copied and mimicked in several other cities and countries around the world. Contrary to popular belief, not all of the 18th Street neighborhoods operate in unison, know each other, or even get along.

Global Reach: Real or Perceived?

Since its inception, youth from every large city in the US, Canada, Mexico and countries in Central & South America America, Europe and most likely several other cities and countries have adapted the use of the name 18th Street. Because of the wide spread popularity, the FBI has labeled this gang a transnational gang with global reach, but there is no evidence to support the existence of any such global network in which the 18th Street gang operates between cities or across national borders. Because of deportation, the gang culture of LA was introduced into Mexico and Central America, but transnational linkages in which the 18th Street gang operate have not been uncovered thus far. A study from 2007 found that international connections among Hispanic gangs like 18th Street and Mara Salvatrucha were over stated and that there were no signs of transnational coordination among gang members. Academic studies have also fell short from identifying these types of networks among Los Angeles based Hispanic gangs.

Any suggestion that these gangs operate in this sophisticated manner has been considered propaganda from law enforcement and designed to stigmatize the gang and its members by exaggerating the extent to which the gang operates. Phrases like “violent foreign-born gang members” and “their behavior is often deadly” uses the fear card to gain public support for what ever law enforcement action is desired against the group. For years the FBI has been telling us that there exists parallels between 18th Street and international crime but many of those linkages have been overstated and just because the federal government says that 18th Street possesses weapons of mass destruction does not necessarily mean that it is true. United States Senator Dianne Feinstein published a report in 2003 which erroneously stated that 80 percent of the 18th Street gang membership in California consists of illegal immigrants but according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department only about 10 percent of the gang membership in Los Angeles County are illegal citizens.

Gang Injunctions

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office has three gang injunctions against the 18th Street; two in the Rampart Division and one in the Southwest Division of the LAPD against the same faction that Catorino Gonzales and Pedro Espinoza were from. This specific 18th Street gang has several clicks including Alcase, Lil Lowks, and Smiley Drive.

The Rampart injunctions were under review and temporarily halted in September of 1999 because of the Rampart corruption scandal that implicated several LAPD officers in criminal activity. In 2002 these injunctions were refiled by the City Attorney’s Office and placed back into effect.

Warring with Bloods

Graffiti of the 18th Street gang from off the area of Hoover and 74th Street of South Los Angeles.

Certain factions of 18th Street in South Los Angeles are feuding with Black gangs, specifically the Bloods. In 1994, members of the Rancho Park click that were hanging out on Gibraltar Avenue in the Jungles got into a conflict with members of the Black P Stones in the Jungles. The actual source of this conflict remains in question, but an argument ensued, and an 18th Street member was murdered, thus starting the cycle of violence between the Bloods and the 18th Street. The Black Stones from the City joined the conflict, then in 1996 the Rollin’ 20s Bloods got involved. More recently the Fruit Town Brims, the 4th Blood gang joined the conflict against the 18th Street. This conflict followed the war between the Venice Shoreline Crips, a predominately black gang and the Hispanic Venice 13, that saw 17 murders in 9 months from 1993-94. Eventually, Venice 13 had the support of three other Hispanic gangs; Culver City Boys, Sotel, and Santa Monica 13, but that war was over by 1996.

List of all 18th Street Neighborhoods in Los Angeles County

18th Street in the News

  • 18 members of MacArthur Park area gang are indicted Oct 25, 2007
  • Judge Lifts Injunction Against 18th Street Gang Members, February 21, 2002, LA Times
  • California’s Most Violent Export by Investigator Al Valdez
  • ENFORCEMENT OF GANG INJUNCTION DELAYED AGAIN , October 23, 1999, LA Times
  • L.A.’s Dirty War on Gangs , October 11, 1999, LA Weekly
  • Rampart Probe May Put Gang Injunction at Risk , September 19, 1999, LA Times
  • Alleged Gang Member Arrested in LAPD murder, August 14, 1998, AP
  • 18th Street Gang Member Sentenced to Death, October 31, 1997, City News Service
  • Judge Puts More Heat on 18th Street Gang, August 29, 1997, KCBS2.com
  • 18th Street Gang: Another Injunction?, August 4, 1997, KCBS
  • Judge Bans 18th Street Gang, July 11, 1997, KCBS2.com
  • An Inside Look at 18th St.’s Menace; Its size and ability to recruit across ethnic lines make the L.A.-based network one of the most prolific gangs in the nation, Nov 17, 1996, LA Times
  • 339 Comments for “18th Street Gang in Los Angeles County | Shatto Park | Columbia Lil Cycos | Alsace | Red Shield | South Central | Smiley Dr | Rimpau | 106th | Grand View”

    1. soy chucky clcs

      Soy chucky clcs
      Hollywood gangsters west side
      Rip rico ws hgs
      Que onda danni boy puttin in work
      La calle de diiesiocho Hollywood clique
      Que onda onetyme eddy
      Que onda green eyes
      Harm nhd
      Diesiocho por vida
      Fuck blanco hgs rata
      Fuck trouble hgs rata
      Rip boxer hgs
      Que onda china big homegurl hgs
      Dc8st por vida
      Watchalee putas

    2. samantha

      The only reason you claim a gang is because you come from the streets, poverty, you need something to claim and hold on to. Losers. Get a job, go to school, and work like everyone else. Ghetto!!!

      • Ziggy

        beside poverty, luck or faith, there are countless reasons to join any kind of organisation, gangs, religions, soccer, scouts whores and pimps. judging somebody is not a answer nor a solution, if there was a problem!
        practice PEACE is the right thing to do, regardless.

    3. north_hills95

      This is pointless, go to school and get a job. If not, might as well get locked up or killed for being stupid gangmembers

    4. jomamaisaho

      18 and I like it

    5. garagehero

      I believe it is written as CLIQUE, not CLICK, as you wrote. It is pronounced click, in English, and cleeka, in Spanish.

    6. EK 13

      FUCK FAKETEEN WE TOOK OVER THESE FOOLS HOOD IN HOOVER BROADWAY AND SANPEDRO PURO EVIL KLAN13 MKA 99ST THERE IS NO MORE 18K IN SC Eighteen Killaz13 that lps click is extinct

    7. pumasvilla43

      18TH STREET WITH V N W K P M S P A N I C

    8. pumasvilla43

      VNWK PMS PANIC

    9. pumasvilla43

      VNWK AVE PANIC PMS

    10. pumasvilla43

      VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK VARRIO NORWALK

    11. pumasvilla43

      VNWK PANIC

    12. NorthEastLA

      vFrogTownRifa13ParkSideGees click. NeLa

    13. brooke martin

      18th Street gang is weak. They are all phony posers. All you have to do is look at their history and how they act and its clear they dont have any codes, dont have any respect. Why should 18th street gang members deserve respect? They all deserve to be pissed on, thats how much respect they deserve. Why? Because if they dont respect themselves and their brothers why should anyone else respect them? Just look at what their big shot caller Frank Puppet Martinez did to Termite, his loyal shot caller of Lil Cycos. Termite was loyal, he took Lil Cycos to new levels of success, he made tons of money for Puppet and 18th Street. But what does 18th Street do to him for his loyal service? Puppet puts the green light on him and his own brothers try to kill him, and they failed (weak posers). Termite survived, because he is stronger than Puppet. Puppet was the disloyal one putting a hit on Termite without any evidence, and it turned out that Termite wasnt the rat Puppet made him out to be and put the green light on him. Puppet was just weak and following his bitches words, doing what his bitch told him to do. What a pussy-whipped bitch. Termite was loyal and was not a ray until his own gang, his own brothers tried to kill him for what? For nothing! Just because some bitch thought he was a rat. He didnt rat, he didnt start talking to the feds until after his own crew tried to kill him. He showed them the loyalty they showed him. So That is what 18th street does to its own loyal gang members, it shows them no respect- and so they deserve no respect. Puppet and the rest of 18th street are no better than a spot where your dog pisses everyday. They are lower than dog piss. I piss on 18th street, I piss on Puppet. That is how much respect they deserve, because look at how much respect they show their own, if they dont respect their own, and their own rules, then they dont deserve any respect. 18th Street, just look at the shit they do, they are weak, they arnt good enough for a dog to piss on, that would be disrespectfull for the dog. All you 18th street posers out there, think on that. You dont deserve any respect. Your just a bunch of fucking posers.

    14. 3LmO

      Its all about the S3SASM3 St WSSG Shout out the the Hommies BigBiRD/Cooki3Monsta!

    15. Piedra Madera Ls

      ROCKWOOD ST Y QUE PUTOS FUCK PUSSYOCHO

    16. KK

      All of you “gang bangers” should just put a eat a bullet to save the rest of the world from your worthless existence.

    17. casper loKss

      fuck all this bull shit it is all about SOUTH SIDE ONTERIO ese serio shit

    18. Jose Soto

      A QUi PARANDO WS DIECIOCHO STWS calle bonnie Brea Mr chukie ws18st tws

    19. Jose Soto

      Barrio dieciocho no mas fuck levas bonnie brea calle uno Ocho por vida

    20. WS 8TEEN ST

      £z Up , Hoes Down motha fuckass
      we out here in Kewa, Nuevo Mexico
      WS.CR££P£RZ.XV3st GANG
      E GANG OR DONT BANG .

    21. VARRIO NUEVO ESTRADA X3 GANG

      Fuck faketeens ES VARRIO NUEVO GANG

    22. salvador I hernandez

      Ldcksambuccasseighteensttunydevils

    23. POWER

      WS ARMINIAN POWER 13 HGS FUCK VIGINA NUEVA ESTRADA AN FUCK FAKETEEN FUCKING LEVAS U CANT HANG WITH THE POWER LAMES

    24. john tarret

      Usmc get a job you useless so call gangsters

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