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Extortionists prey on farmers in St Elizabeth

Published:Friday | May 29, 2015 | 5:00 AMGary Spaulding

The scourge of extortion has begun its deathly scarring of the pristine hills and agricultural valleys of some once peaceful rural districts in St Elizabeth.

Investigators told The Gleaner that the targets of extortionists plaguing the deep agricultural belt are farmers, many of whom are already bedeviled by praedial larceny.

Law-enforcement personnel who were on the scene of a quadruple murder in Ginger Hill, St Elizabeth, yesterday, said they were searching for extortionists aligned to the Stone Crusher Gang out of Montego Bay, St James.

Seventy-three-year-old Ezra Wright; 61-year-old Archibald Brown, his 58-year-old brother George Brown and 41-year-old Morris Sanderson were playing dominoes when they were fatally shot on Wednesday night.

 

Shot 15 times

 

Investigators told The Gleaner that Wright, who was repeatedly vociferous in his condemnation of the extortionists, was shot 15 times and the elder Brown, nine.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Paul Bernard, the operations officer in St Elizabeth, was awaiting the arrival of Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams when The Gleaner team caught up with him.

He disclosed that investigators were on the trail of two suspects, believed to be responsible for at least three sets of murders that amounted to seven of the nine murders in the parish since October 2014.

"This is nine too many," declared Bernard.

The Gleaner was told that the men broke away from the gang and sought shelter in the thickly vegetated hills of St Elizabeth where they have been extorting farmers.

"We have two prime suspects," said Bernard. "One is Anward Anthony Hines otherwise called 'Kirky' and Kirk Hines and the other is Denham Campbell, also known as 'Popsy'," he said.

Bernard said that the men are from the Claremont district but frequent places like Flankers and Norwood in St James.

"We believe they are responsible for these killings in Ginger Hill as well as three previous murders in the earlier part of this year in this wider community," he said.

Bernard said one man was killed in October, another in November and a woman on Christmas Day.

"We believe these two men can assist us in these offences, including the last four which brings the total number of murders to nine."

gary.spaulding@gleanerjm.com