(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – The ruthless criminal gang that was busted last weekend after more than six months of patient police investigation has been blamed for at least eight murders and numerous rapes, including that of a 12-year-old girl, a Jamaica Observer probe has uncovered.
Yesterday, head of the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC), Assistant Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey, told reporters at a press briefing at his office on Orange Street in downtown Kingston that a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force — a detective corporal — is among 15 people who were arrested under the anti-gang legislation early Saturday morning when the police effectively crippled the gang.
During the operation, two individuals linked to a car parts dealership that the police said is responsible for disposing of stolen property obtained by the criminals, along with three women, were arrested.
The police said that before Saturday’s operation, they had arrested 10 people, including Uchence Wilson, 27, otherwise known as Terrence, who they say is the leader of the 40-member gang that has been wreaking havoc in St Catherine, Clarendon, St Andrew, St Mary, Manchester, Trelawny, and St Ann.
According to ACP Bailey, the gangsters have gained over $400 million from their illegal activities across the island and were responsible for 12 of the 15 licensed firearms that were reported stolen during 18 robberies.
Bailey said that in some of these robberies the gangsters would force their victims to perform oral sex on each other in the presence of children. “They would also reign terror if any level of resistance was encountered during their lawless activities, and these would result in their victims being robbed, killed or shot during the process,” ACP Bailey said, adding that the criminals would visit the victims’ houses “after careful planning and surveillance” of an area.
“What we identify among this group is a division of labour. Each individual was given a specific task, and during our investigation we realised that they stuck to the task that was given. They would also use their cronies, who are closely affiliated with some of their victims, to provide key information to avoid detection,” Bailey explained,
“In Guy’s Hill, there was a case in which the gang members went to the victim’s house in an effort to kill a potential witness. As a matter of fact, I would step back a little to say this victim was previously robbed, and so they returned to the house to eliminate the victim or the witness. In the process they missed their target and eventually killed another man, then set fire to his house,” Bailey said.
In Linstead, a victim who had been labelled an informer was also injured, according to Bailey.
“In Riversdale, a victim was shot and killed during the process of being robbed.”
Bailey said that on another occasion in Guy’s Hill, the gangsters were in the process of robbing several people when the police caught up with them and engaged them in a shoot-out. “One of the gang members was shot in the process,” he said.
“In Guy’s Hill again, the leader and others engaged the police when an attempt was made to apprehend him that resulted in him being shot. As a matter of fact, I think this person turned up at KPH (Kingston Public Hospital) under a pseudonym, but we were able to identify him, and he is now in police custody,” Bailey explained, adding that the gangsters committed several other robberies in Glengoffe and Ewarton as well.
In addition to that, Bailey said the gangsters unleashed terror in St Ann where they were identified for 10 robberies.
“In one instance, one of the victims’ new Coaster bus, valued at $17 million, was stolen. He purchased another Coaster, and it was also stolen shortly thereafter by the said group. The group is also responsible for stealing at least five Hiace buses,” Bailey said.
He also told journalists that a mother and her daughter were raped by members of the gang who, he said, were behind the spate of violence in Clarendon in recent months.
Bailey, while noting that C-TOC has utilised all the necessary tools to apprehend the gangsters, said the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has assigned senior prosecutors to ensure that the arrested men are prosecuted.
Bailey also urged gang members who wish to detach from gangs to call C-TOC at 967-1389.
According to the police, approximately 260 gangs are in operation across the island.