Midwest Gangs

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The conflict between Norteno and Sureno street gangs in California has lasted for over 30 years. The official Norte-Sur line is now roughly drawn across from Delano to Salinas with the greater Fresno area separate of both There are few Nortenos below the line, many Surenos above it. Even this no longer holds true, as the S-N ratio is now nearly 50% in parts of Northern California. Sometimes whole gangs will move to another area because of law enforcement pressure. When a Sureno moves into a Norteno neighborhood there will be conflict! One of the largest sources of violence right now is the migration of Sureno gangs into Central and Northern California neighborhoods. Outside of California the lines are even blurrier. You can sometimes find Nortenos and Surenos living in the same vicinity where there are not well-established or traditional varrios. Sometimes you can even find Nortenos and Surenos in the same family households!

Most California Chicano gangs claim either Norteno, Sureno (except some Maravillas), or Central Califas (F14). As gang members moved around they take this allegiance with them. Nortenos are found in most of the Western part of the United States, but are not as wide spread across the U.S. as the Surenos are. Nortenos are now found as far away as Texas, Colorado, in the Mid-West, and New York where they fly under the Chicano Nation or Familia Ridas. They even have their own web sites. Many Norteno gang members will wear 49’er gear, Nebraska hats, or UNLV (Us Nortenos Love Violence). Mostly red colors called "flamed up". Make sure that this isn’t the only identifier if you pull one over! Another non-verbal identifier for the Nortenos in the past has been the Mongolian hairstyle. A top knot or ponytail growing from the top/back portion of the head. This came out of CDC and was adopted on the street. In some Northern Cal jurisdictions, law enforcement was able to educate the judges that this was another non-verbal self-admission by gang members of their Norteno affiliation/membership. Still other Nortenos will wear light blue North Carolina gear for the N.C. to signify Northern California.

One of the growing trends amongst Hispanic gangsters is the promotion of their gangs through rap music. The "14th" track on the "17 Reasons" Black/Brown CD is called "North Side Soldier" by a rapper from SFM. The "Generation of United Nortenos" or G.U.N. and Darkroom Familia label also promote gang violence. Rap was at first considered "Black music" by Surenos. Surenos would only listen to Oldies. Now Sureno rap music groups are just as big as Norteno ones. A rapper from Darkroom Familia was indicted on a RICO statute and the Generation of United Nortenos (GUN) CD was also used against them. The escalating violence between Nortenos and Surenos in California and elsewhere is expected to continue for a long time. Police Officers, Corrections, and the public need to be aware of this historical feud if we are to ever hope to end the violence...

States: Mainly California, but can be found elsewhere
Prisons: Mainly California, but elsewhere

Gangs of the Midwest.