17 in, 6 to go, says cops of alleged members of top Westmoreland gang
Detectives from the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime (C-TOC) Branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) say they have made a significant dent in the operations of the Dester Street gang that is believed to be responsible for a large number of murders in Westmoreland.
The police said they have so far charged 17 alleged members of the gang under the Criminal Justice Suppression of a Criminal Organisation Act of 2014, popularly called the anti-gang legislation.
The alleged members of the Dester Street Gang join similarly suspected members two other criminal outfits – the Uchence Wilson gang and the Clansman gang – to be broadly before the courts under the anti-gang legislation.
Six other alleged members of the Dester Street gang are still at large, three of whom are believed to have fled overseas, the police said at a press briefing in Kingston on Wednesday.
C-TOC officers said an ongoing feud between members of the Dester Street Gang and other criminals from Westmoreland led to the dramatic killing of seven persons, including a two-year-old child, in the Grange Hill area of Westmoreland a few weeks ago.
The police said they have since increased their presence in the parish, and have warned that they will not ease up until criminals wreaking havoc in the parish are arrested.
The police indicated that a shipment of 19 guns and nearly 4,000 rounds of assorted ammunition, which was intercepted at the port in Kingston last November, was destined for the Dester Street Gang.
The arms and ammunition were found in a freezer at the port.
C-TOC head, Assistant Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey, said the detection and interception of the shipment of guns to the gang was what landed the unit so centrally on the police's radar as an organised criminal network.
Bailey said four alleged members of the gang who were arrested late last week, bring to 17 the number of suspected members of the gang who are now in custody. The group includes 13 males and four females. They were pulled in during a number of police operations last week.
They are all scheduled to soon appear in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.
Bailey said the man who is believed to be the leader of the gang and the main source of its funding, remains at large. He was identified as Shadane Patrick Robinson, otherwise called ‘Gorgon’.
Bailey said Robinson, who was charged with murder, was granted bail and is believed to have fled to the United States.
He said two other alleged members of the gang who are wanted, are also believed to have fled to the US.
They are Oshane Rankine, also called ‘Shabba’, and Juwayne Barnes, otherwise called ‘Spent Shell’.