Ethnic crime in Southern California isn’t new, but it certainly is getting diverse and complex. This morning federal and local law enforcement agents targeted members of Armenian Power, an Armenian organized crime group concentrated in Glendale and East Los Angeles, arresting and charging almost 100 member with crimes including racketeering, extortion, kidnapping, white-collar fraud and drug sales. Armenian gangs are becoming increasingly powerful and have at times worked with Russian, Israeli and Vietnamese gangs, along with the African American and Latino street gangs that have dominated the Los Angeles area for decades. But running street corners and the local drug trade has become only a part of what these ethnic criminal groups are involved in, branching off into more complicated crimes of identity theft and financial fraud. What is the criminal landscape of Southern California and what ethnic gangs have become most prominent?
Shirley Jahad, KPCC reporter & host of “Weekend Edition”
Greg Andres, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice’s Criminal Division