The Most Notorious Crime Organizations in the World

We have all seen many criminal organizations come and go throughout history. However, there are a few which have stood the test of time – some of which have become infamous in their own right. From the powerful Italian mafia La Cosa Nostra to the notorious Yakuza in Japan and the ruthless Cali Cartel in Colombia, these notorious criminal organizations have brought trouble and death to many.

These organizations have been a menace to society for years. They have caused tremendous trouble and chaos while operating outside the law. Law enforcement has had to take extreme measures to bring them down and make our streets safer.

1. La Cosa Nostra

Even to date, La Cosa Nostra is one of the most notorious criminal organizations in the world. Their reach has extended far beyond their Sicilian roots, as they have penetrated many parts of the world, particularly America. Though their criminal activities can be traced back centuries, La Cosa Nostra (LCN) began to be seen as a major criminal organization in the late 1800s. They had become active in a wide range of illegal activities by creating political connections, after which the La Cosa Nostra had established a reputation for being well-organized and powerful.

At one point, LCN controlled the trade unions in many regions and had fingers in a variety of illegal transactions and politics. In addition, it was also believed that this mafia group was involved in various other kinds of criminal activities, be it loan-sharking, drug trafficking, robbery, money laundering, gambling, or much more. Despite being a target of the police, their illegal operations have held on for centuries. In addition to the theft and racketeering, the methods of infiltration to the highest levels of political power have made La Cosa Nostra an even bigger threat. While their operations have been significantly reduced, thanks to strict law enforcement, there is no doubt that LCN is still one of the most notorious criminal organizations in the world. It is hard to measure the scope of their network, let alone their influence. One thing is certain, though – the La Cosa Nostra has left its mark in history and emerged as an example of the lengths that an organization can go to when it is willing to break the law.

2. Yakuza

The Yakuza is one of the world’s most notorious crime organizations, believed to have more than 25,000 members in Japan alone. Originating in the 16th century, Yakuza has changed its purpose and activities numerous times over the years as the government and law enforcement have stepped in. In spite of this, the Yakuza is still present in the shadow of Japan’s lucrative economy, instilling fear in many. This criminal organization is well known for gambling, drug trafficking, smuggling, extortion, and murder. The Yakuza is also suspected of having links to human trafficking, arms smuggling, and entertaining child pornography.

However, the group is also known for its strong code of honor, loyalty, and solidarity. Despite their violent nature, members of the Yakuza are expected to maintain a high level of respect for their leaders and members. Betrayal and disloyalty are punished swiftly, either physically or by the Yakuza’s ‘Code of Silence.’ The Yakuza has been known to target anyone who is willing to cross it, as it wants to have complete, total control over its turf. This gang is a constant source of trouble for the Japanese police, who are often outmatched and outgunned. With that being said, there are times when members of the Yakuza will cooperate with the police when it suits them.

3. The Cali Cartel

This criminal organization was a major player in Colombia’s drug trafficking industry from 1993 when it was first formed by Gilberto and Miguel Rodríguez Orejuela. Thanks to their ruthless business tactics and powerful connections, the brothers easily established a substantial drug-trafficking network that spanned numerous countries and continents. However, it was the cartel’s primary market, Europe’s cocaine industry, that allowed the brothers to become one of Colombia’s wealthiest citizens. At its height, the Cali Cartel’s mafia-like operation monopolized much of the world’s cocaine market, as well as invested cocaine generated profits from legitimate businesses, such as real estate and banking. With such enormous power, the cartel gained a reputation of infamy, and it also attracted the attention of prestigious international authorities who desperately wanted to bring down the syndicate’s reign of terror.

4. The Russian Mob

Often referred to as the Red Mafia, the Russian Mob was formed in the late 1980s to take advantage of the unprecedented economic transition the Soviet Union was undergoing. Their level of brutality and violence was unseen in any other criminal organization. The Russian Mob was responsible for running a wide range of criminal activities, including money laundering, weapon selling, and drug trafficking. This brotherhood also had a stranglehold on territories it controlled and enforced its own deadly punishments if anyone was suspected of going against its rules. The Russian Mob has found success in the international market with arms trading and has been linked to political corruption, assassinations, and human trafficking. This group is also considered a major threat to national security in some countries, although strict law enforcement has limited its operations by numbers recently.

5. The Cocaine Cowboys

Heads of the criminal organization, Willy Falcon and Sal Magluta, were two Cuban immigrants who had a history of business dealings before getting into the drug world. The two had made a fortune through drug trafficking and brought in an estimated 75 tons of cocaine into Miami. By 1991, their business was booming until their success also became their downfall. That year, the two were arrested for drug smuggling and money laundering, and their business quickly crumbled soon after.

The Cocaine Cowboys had a tight grip on Miami and used their power and control over politics and legal institutions to benefit their business. This gang associated themselves with brotherhood and togetherness, something many rivals found difficult to bust. With the code of ‘Omertà,’ or secrecy, they were practically untouchable by law enforcement, making them some of the most wanted and dangerous criminals in the world. While the prosecution managed to paint a compelling picture of the criminal organization, the pair have managed to avoid significant prison sentences. Even so, their journey from criminal bosses to criminals on the run is a warning sign for everyone: getting into the business of organized crime can be a deadly one.

To Sum Up

Criminal organizations have always had a dark fascination with people. Whether it’s the brotherhoods and secret societies of the mob or powerful drug cartels that can wreak havoc with countries and citizens, such groups have always been a massive part of our contemporary world. Starting from the sword-wielding and kimono-fitted Yakuza members to the infamous Cocaine Cowboys – the black market industry is one that terrorized civilians and law enforcers alike for generations.

Such criminal organizations have caused much terror and destruction that even today, some of them remain sought after by law enforcement. No matter where in the world you live, criminal organizations have most likely left their mark on your city and country. Whether it’s the Russian Mob, the La Cosa Nostra, or the Cali Cartel, these notorious brotherhoods are a part of a dark legacy that remains a mystery to most people.

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