(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – ANDRE Bryan, the reputed leader of one faction of the split Klansman Gang in Spanish Town, St Catherine, has been arrested and charged and is expected to face the court this week.
Police said members Bryan’s family have also been arrested and charged and are also expected to face the court this week.
Bryan, who is also known as Blackman, the police said, has been in conflict with Tesha Miller, whom they alleged heads the other faction of the notorious gang.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Fitz Bailey, who heads the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC), said internal feuding in the gang led to 78 of the 134 murders committed in 2017 and 25 of the 49 committed so far in 2018 in the St Catherine North Police Division.
Bailey, who was speaking at a press conference at C-TOC’s headquarters in downtown Kingston yesterday, said that St Catherine, and specifically Spanish Town, has been one of the most problematic police districts for a number of years.
According to Bailey, factions of the gang have been warring for the control of space, gun and extortion, and have also been for contract killings in the former Jamaican capital. Bailey said that the ultimate goal of the rivals is to control the space in St Catherine, especially sections where the extortion racket is “lucrative”.
The assistant police commissioner said C-TOC, in collaboration with the officers of the St Catherine North Police Division, has since 2015 been working to dismantle the Klansman Gang and since that time 32 people have been arrested and charged for breaches of the Anti-Gang Legislation.
He said that on March 4 this year, the police, acting on intelligence, went to upscale premises in St Andrew where they carried out an operation in which Bryan, 33, his 53-year old mother Millicent Brown, his brother, 25-year-old Kevon Green, and his 27-year-old girlfriend Alicia Brown were taken into custody.
This is the second time Bryan is being detained by the police. He was taken into custody in 2016, processed and released without being charged.
But yesterday, Bailey said that a solid case is being built against the alleged gang leader and his family members.
“We have been working this case closely with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. We’ve had several case conferences with the Office of the Director of the Public Prosecutions and we are satisfied, based on the advice of the director, that we were able to make out cases against the people that I’ve mentioned before,” Bailey said.
Bryan, he said, was paying US$1,500 monthly for rent to reside at the upper St Andrew premises for more than a year.
The reputed gang leader, he said, has been charged with attempting to recruit an adult to a criminal organisation and leading a criminal organisation. His mother has been charged with being a part of a criminal organisation by facilitating the commission of serious offence and obtaining a benefit from the criminal organisation. His girlfriend has been charged with providing a benefit to a criminal organisation, while his brother was charged with being a part of a criminal organisation by facilitating the commission of a serious crime.
Bailey said the remainder of the 32 people will also be charged as they pursue others.
“We believe that there is no one who is above the law. We will continue to pursue persons involved in criminal activities, whether gangs or murders. We are committed and we will go wherever we have to go. There is no hiding place for anyone in this country,” he said, adding that what was presented yesterday “is just a tip in the bucket”.
Asked about Miller, who once commanded and directed the gang, Bailey said that he was not a wanted man or a person of interest at this time despite the intelligence they have.
Miller’s incarceration overseas in 2015 elevated Bryan to the top tier of the gang.
He was released from prison in April 2016 and since his return to the island, there has reportedly been a split among gang members, resulting in a deadly conflict.