Citizens who manage to stay on the right side of their home countries’ laws usually settle their disputes in a civilized way—by suing the pants off of each other. Sometimes their disputes rise to the level of Internet flame wars or screaming matches at housing association meetings.
The gangs on this list, however, mostly grew up in places and among social classes that don’t offer that kind of redress. The disputes that arise among pimps, cigarette smugglers, international car thieves, and drug pushers mostly get solved with violence; the more violent, the better. Here are seven of the most violent gangs operating in the world today:
The Most Brutal Gangs: Los Zetas
The shortcoming of many criminal enterprises rests in limited equipment and training. Members of street gangs might be really tough individually, but they lack heavy weapons and have never been trained to work effectively in small-unit actions. Los Zetas, however, have solved that problem by recruiting former special forces commandos from elite squadrons of the Mexican army.
The Zetas began as the armed wing of Mexico’s already-hella-violent Gulf Cartel, as cartel members hired government-trained assassins as bodyguards. At first, hiring elite commandos was a way of gaining prestige in the violent world of Mexican cocaine smuggling, but over time the bodyguards role became much more expansive. Eventually, Los Zetas emerged as the muscle of the cartel.