Territory: Southern California
Approximate membership: 1,500
Though the Mongols are a smaller gang than many of their peers with similar notoriety, they make up for their relatively small numbers with tenacity. Since their 800-member ranks are clustered largely in and around Southern California, the MC is a powerful force there. With the help of standing allegiances with Latino street gangs, the Mongols took control of the SoCal from the Hells Angels in the 1980s and still hold the turf today.
The Mongols allegiance with these street gangs is largely based on race, as the majority of the Mongols are Hispanic or Native American. The club was founded after a number of Latino bikers were denied entry to the Hells Angels due to their race.
The Mongols remain a violent and active gang today; in 2008, sixty gang members were arrested on charges including trafficking, racketeering, and murder. This sting resulted in the arrest of President Ruben "Doc" Cavazos. As a result of this sting, Mongols members were barred from wearing their patches (or "colors") in public. After several years in court, a judge ruled that the forfeiture of the patch was a judicial overreach and the Mongols could once again wear their colors.