Black Dragons (gang)
The Black Dragons (traditional Chinese: ) is a Chinese/American Triad (secret society) and street gang that was formed in 1980 by Chinese immigrants in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles, California. It was started by a group of young men who bounded together to protect themselves from other Asian and Hispanic gangs. The Black Dragons operated in Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley for over two decades. At the gang's peak, it had over 100 core members. The gang preyed on the Asian American communities as a source of income and is highly unique compared to other Asian crime groups as they were involved in both organized and street-level crime. The revenue from organized crime came mainly from extorting brothels, prostitution, money laundering, the distribution of narcotics and counterfeiting merchandise. At street-level, the gang was involved in a wide range of crimes that included, murder, robbery and car theft. The Black Dragons' influence was strong in the San Gabriel Valley, during the mid 1990s until its downfall in 2002. The gang gained the attention of federal authorities because of their involvement in violent criminal activities. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) opened a case against the Black Dragons in 1999. The FBI soon created the Black Dragon Task force and the three year investigation lead to the convictions of multiple gang members, stemming from murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, extortion, illegal possession of firearms and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charges. The gang was taken down in one of the largest gang sweeps of 2002, as federal agents simultaneously raided and arrested 30 of its core members. It's an Asian gang with a h
story of violence identified as a top threat by various law enforcement agencies, according to FBI Agent Kerry Smith, who heads a unit that targets Asian criminal enterprise and violent crime. The unit is based out of the FBI's West Covina office. These guys weren't afraid to commit violence,' Smith said. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. The RICO Act focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows for the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they ordered others to do or assisted them, closing a perceived loophole that allowed someone who told a man to, for example, murder, to be exempt from the trial because he did not actually do it. RICO was enacted by section 901(a) of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 (Pub.L. 91–452, 84 Stat. 922, enacted October 15, 1970). RICO is codified as Chapter 96 of Title 18 of the United States Code, 18 U.S.C. § 1961–1968. While its original use in the 1970s was to prosecute the Mafia as well as others who were actively engaged in organized crime, its later application has been more widespread. It has been speculated that the name and acronym were selected in a sly reference to the movie Little Caesar, which featured a notorious gangster named Rico. The original drafter of the bill, G. Robert Blakey, refused to confirm or deny this. G. Robert Blakey remains an expert on RICO; his former student Michael Goldsmith also gained a reputation as one of the nation's leading RICO experts.