LA Gang Members in Syria: Organized Crime, Terrorism ‘Converge’

The other gang member appearing with Peeyakan in photos and the video calls himself "Creeper," and has tattoos for Sureños-13, which is affiliated with the Mexican mafia.

"Tell the homies in f--king Middle East, homie, still gangbanging, homie, putting that s--t down for the big Sur-13 gang," Creeper says in the video as he fires his rifle.

While the fighters do not explicitly state their motivations for joining the Syrian conflict, the scarves Peeyakan and other fighters he's pictured with are wearing appear to show the face of Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanese Hezbollah, the Iran-backed militant group that has joined the civil war on the side of Assad in the battle for Syria. Armenia and Iran enjoy close diplomatic ties, over U.S. objections.

The Mexican mafia also is known to have ties to Hezbollah. In late 2007, counter-terrorism agents from the FBI and DEA in Operation Bell Bottoms busted several businesses in the Los Angeles area that were peddling cocaine and counterfeit designer clothing in a storefront operation run by the Mexican mafia that financially benefited Hezbollah, sources said at the time.

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