The biggest gang in Mexico right now is the Sinaloa, whose leader, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, known as “El Chapo” or “Shorty”, is considered the most powerful drug lord in the world, perhaps ever. The Sinaloas smuggle cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin by land or through tunnels into the US, often via Arizona.
The largest of Japan’s Yakuza groups, the Yamaguchi has its base and origins in Kobe, but works on a global scale. With a membership running into tens of thousands, they deal in drugs, weapons, gambling, extortion rackets and prostitution.
Solntsevskaya Bratva, Russia
The term “Russian Mafia” describes a range of criminal bratvas, or brotherhoods, the largest of which is from Solntsevo district on the southern outskirts of Moscow. The group is known to have links to Semion Mogilevich, Europe‘s and perhaps the world’s, most powerful criminal.
The ‘Ndrangheta, Italy
The ‘Ndrangheta from Calabria has now eclipsed the nearby Sicilian Cosa Nostra and the Neapolitan Camorra syndicates to become one of the biggest drug gangs in the world. Its annual income from cocaine importation and other businesses is estimated in the tens of billions of dollars.
Abergil family, Israel
The imprisonment last year of brothers Itzhak and Meir Abergil has done little to curtail the activities of the huge organisation they led. IThe Abergils have been one of the world’s largest exporters of ecstasy, into the US and elsewhere, and prolific in gambling and embezzlement too.