Washington is a state in the Pacific Northwest on the West Coast of the United States. The State borders the Canadian border which makes it a prime location for drug trafficking. This makes it a hotspot for gangs. Gang activity has continued to grow here. Outlaw MCs as well as street gangs are in Washington state and are causing a lot of gang related crime in the area. Lets take a look at the current state of gangs in Washinton.

Crime Stats in Washington State

Washington continues to be riddled with gang crime. Violent crime has surged all across the state, but overall crime has decreased a bit as of 2021.

Crimes against people however grew a pretty substantial amount, these are the crimes that are usually connected to street gangs.

Gang Culture in the Washington Area

Gangs have been active in the state since the 1950s with the rise of Outlaw Motorcyle clubs. With the addition of black, and mexican gangs, the Washington Area has been an active gang state fighting over turf and control of the drug trade. Spokane in Washington has become a gang hot spot.

Street gangs are involved more in a variety of crimes, this includes drug trafficking, prostitution, burglaries and fraud. They have linked up the Cartels to push drugs across the state.

Both Outlaw MCs and Street gangs have moved into most areas in Washington State and are making jobs of law enforcement very tough.

History of Gangs in the area

As mentioned Outlaw biker gangs have been active in Washington State since the 1950s. Street gangs like the Bloods and Crip gangs started popping up around the 1980s, this was due to the Crack era.

Prison gangs started forming in the 1970s. You had the Aryan Brotherhood as well as the Mexican Mafia and Nuestra Familia who were running the prisons.

The prison gangs would control a lot of the mexican street gangs from inside the prison system, but you had the Surenos and the Nortenos in the 1980s that were running on the streets.

Another criminal organization that needs to be addressed is the Gangster Disciples, who migrated from the Midwest in Chicago to Washington.

Types of Street Gangs in WA

Street gangs are very active in Washington. Some of the sets from California have migrated up north to capitalize on the drug trade.

Reports have shown that gangs in Washington State operate differently than the ones in California. Gangs in California are very tied to protecting territory. Where as the gangs in the Washington area are more concerned with making money. The gangs in Washington will work with other gangs as long as they can turn a profit. This is a key to being able to traffic huge amounts of product across the state and the border.

Native Gangs

Along with the typical black and mexican gangs, Washington has Native American Gangs which are active on the Indian Reserves in the state.

Native American gangs are active in grow operations, pharmaceuticals and meth.

The Native gangs have taken on the names of some of the bigger gangs in the country, though they do not have ties to the bigger gangs.

Samoan and Tongan Gangs

Samoans and Tongans first immigrating to the United States and settled in area around California, Washington and other parts of the US.

Law enforcement consider these types of people as Pacific Islanders. Pacific Islander gangs started popping up around the 1970s to protect themselves from other gangs in the area.

Samoan and Tongan gangs have take on the Blood and Crip cards like most gangs, and unlike native american gangs, the Samoans and Tongans are linked to the gangs in California. There are pacific islander gangs that are not linked to the bloods and crips as well.

With Pacific Islander gangs, family is really important, so most members of these gangs are family members and are related. They are very protective of their families and will fight and die for them.

Asian Gangs

Asian gangs are slowly moving up the ranks to being the most dangerous street gangs in the country, they are known for being very violent.

Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, Fillipinos make up some of the asian gangs but there are more involved as well.

Asian gangs are very difficult to track as they do not act like traditional street gangs. Most asian gangs are tied to blood and crip sets and are backed by the larger sets throughout the country.

These types of gangs are responsible for moving a lot of drugs, and have ties to overseas connects which can smuggle in a lot of different types of contraband into the country.

Mexican Gangs

Mexican gangs have been in Washington since the 70s, with the start of the mexican prison gang the Nuestra Family and the Nortenos who are their foot soldiers on the street.

Washington has a mix of both Nortenos and Surenos and are some of the main traffickers of drugs across the country.

Mexican Gangs are highly organized and are almost military in the way they run their criminal organizations, their is a tiered structure which takes orders from the top shot callers.

Outlaw Motorcyle Clubs

Outlaw MCs are also heavily present in the state of Washington, even though you cant ride year round. There are a ton of biker bars all over the state that you can find members in.

MCs operate as a top down structure, so any order the lower ranking officers get you get it from the top of the chain.

Most Outlaws have day jobs and businesses, but are tied to the club no matter what.

Outlaws have a code they live by, they are mainly looking to to protect to business and collect money. Unlike street gangs they pay more mind to what happens to civilians in their territory and will respect most people except for the law.

Like the Cartels, outlaw MCs will align themselves with street gangs, who will move their product on the streets. MCs will mainly act as distributers, but their will be some members who sell directly to customers just like members of street gangs.

List of Gangs in Washington State



Gangster Disciples



Polynesian / Asian Pacific Islander

Prison gangs

Outlaw Motorcycle Club

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