Armenian Power, also known as AP, is an Armenian criminal organization located in Los Angeles County, California. They are involved in drug trafficking, murder, assault, fraud, identity theft, illegal gambling, kidnapping, racketeering, robbery and extortion. They are believed to have over 200 members. Armenian Power has strong ties to Russian organized crime, as organized crime in the Soviet Union was multi-ethnic and continues to be multi-ethnic in today's Russia. The gang also has some Hispanic members. In the summer of 1988, two dozen gang members took over the parking lot of a mini-mall in East Hollywood and turned it into their headquarters. They intimidated patrons of the mall's restaurants and clothing stores, forcing the shop owners to hire some off-duty LAPD officers for security. The Armenian Power gang members usually wear the classic uniform of the barrio street gang: baggy khaki pants, pressed white T-shirts, hair nets, navy blue ski caps and 'Locs' brand styled sunglasses. Many are tattooed and armed. By mid-1997 the Armenian Power gang was believed to be responsible for a dozen driveby murders. The Armenian Power gang is composed of about 200 members making it relatively small compared to many other ethnic gangs in the United States. In United States, Caucasian gangs in general composed only 14% of the total percentage of gangs versus other racial/ethnic groups. Gang activity has never been reported in East Coast Armenian communities primarily composed of Turkish-Armenian, Persian Armenian and Lebanese Armenians .The unique ethnic composition of the Los Angeles area which had a strong presence of many different gangs played a major role in the creation of the Armenian Power gang. According to the official FBI website: "The Southern California crime ring called Armenian Power may look like a traditional street gang—members identify themselves with tattoos and gang clothing—but the group is really an international organized crime enterprise whose illegal activities allegedly range from bank fraud and identity theft to violent extortion and kidnapping." Armenian Power has had a history of conflict with Latino gang members in the past but it is thought to have simmered down in the past years. Armen "Silent" Petrosyan, a founder of Armenian Power, was shot to death on May 22, 2000 by Jose Argueta, a member of Latino gang White Fence. On May 24, 2000, Latino gang members shot an Armenian person outside a restaurant in Hollywood, California. It was recorded as the third clash involving Armenian and Latino gang members in that month. In 2000, a killing of a 17 year old Latino youth outside of Hoover High School by Armenian gang youth sparked dialogue to find ways to help stop violence between these groups. On February 16, 2011 during Operation Power Outage over 800 federal and local law enforcement authorities arrested nearly 100 people allegedly involved in Armenian organized crime in the Los Angeles area. Much of the crime was white collar in nature, including identity theft crimes such as credit card skimming. The range of crimes included kidnapping, bank fraud, extortion, identity theft, loansharking, bank, and access card device fraud, robbery, witness intimidation, drug trafficking, drug charges including marijuana cultivation and bringing narcotics into prison, gun-related offenses, and murder.
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