The rise of gang culture in Texas has been a steady one

The more prevalent gangs are, the more likely the average citizen is to cross paths with affiliated members. As the population of Texas has increased in size and diversity, so have the gangs of the Lone Star state.

If you're not mixed up in organized crime shenanigans, then you're probably safe. But as the old adage goes, the more you know the better prepared you are.

West Tango Blast has taken the top spot as the state's fastest growing gang--and it's by far the most dangerous. But there's quite a few more gangs out there that aren't as visible as Tango Blast. Do you know what they are? And do you know who their rivals are?

Puro Tango Blast

Regionally based street and prison gangs comprised of young Hispanic men from larger Texas cities such as Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Austin. They are classified as a "loose affiliation" gang. Meaning, it doesn't take very much to get in the gang. Simply knowing a friend who has a friend is enough.

  • Rivals: Mexikanemi, Texas Syndicate, Barrio Azteca, Crips

Barrio Azteca


A street and prison gang with origins in El Paso, Texas. This gang has 3,000 members across the country. They are heavily involved with drug trafficking, human trafficking, extortion, kidnapping and robbery.

They have alliances with La Linea and the Juarez Cartel. Fun fact, this gang formed in 1986 at the Coffield Unit, in Central Texas.

  • Rivals: Los Mexicales, Sinaloa Cartel, Border Brothers

Aryan Brotherhood of Texas

One of the largest and most violent Neo-Nazi white supremacist prison gangs, the ABT is responsible for numerous murders and other crimes. The ABT is not associated with the Aryan Brotherhood, despite the similarity in names.

The group has an estimated 3,500 members in Texas.

  • Rivals: Aryan Circle

Bandidos MC

Vice via Youtube
Vice via Youtube

The Bandidos Motorcycle Club is one of the major players of Texas' outlaw biker gangs. They have a membership of about 675 in the state.

The Bandidos are renowned for their bloody rivalries with other outlaw gangs and public shootouts.

  • Rivals: Banshees, Cossacks, Los Traviesos, Kinfolk MC, Mongols MC

Texas Syndicate

Established in California's Folsom prison in 1978 to fend off the predatory Aryan Brotherhood and Mexican Mafia gangs. The Texas Syndicate is the oldest Texan prison gang and there are an estimated 1,300 members. Street gang activity is reported in Austin, Corpus Christi, the Rio Grande Valley and DFW.

  • Rivals: Aryan Brotherhood, Nuestra Familia, Mexican Mafia, Mexikanemi, Tango Blast


El Salvador Continues With Bukele's Controversial Anti-Gang Plan
Presidencia El Salvador via Gett

MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, has origins in Los Angeles and is now an international criminal enterprise feared across the country. There are an estimated 10,000 members, with most of its Texan members found in Houston.

  • Rivals: 18th Street Gang, Bloods, Latin Kings, Nortenos

List of Gangs That Operate in Texas

Here is a look at some of the most common gang or criminal organizations that are known to be in the state of Texas.

Gallery Credit: Billy Jenkins

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