Fleeing St James scammers busted in Hanover - Large sums of money seized
Four St James men were among five persons arrested in Kew district in Hanover on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in the illicit lottery scam, which is being blamed for the violence in St James that sparked the declaration of a state of public emergency in the parish last week.
"Four of the men are from St James addresses - Cornwall Courts, Mt Salem, and Flankers," said Superintendent Sharon Beeput, the commanding officer for Hanover. "Whether they are scammers or gunmen, they will find no safe haven here in Hanover, so I am urging others who are planning to come to stay away."
According to Beeput, in the operation, which was intelligence driven, the police seized US$8,900 and J$83,000 along with electronic equipment and lottery-scamming paraphernalia.
"We are conducting additional investigations, so we are not yet ready to release the names, but there is absolutely no question that these men will be charged under The Law Reform Fraudulent Transactions Special Provisions Act," she said. "Lottery scamming is one of the sources through which criminals generate funds to buy guns, so we are taking a no-nonsense approach against them in this parish."
RUNNING OUT OF FEAR
Since the state of public emergency was declared in St James last Thursday, scammers and other persons involved in criminal activities have been fleeing the parish in droves to other western parishes, as well as to Kingston and St Catherine.
"Many of the scammers are running away out of fear of being caught in the security dragnet that comes with the state of emergency," a police officer told The Gleaner. "I hope people across Jamaica will not allow them to take residence in their communities because these guys come with trouble."
Hanover was not the only place where the security forces seized large sums of monies believed to be the proceeds of lottery scamming. More than J$1 million and more than US$8,000 was seized in an operation in St James.
According to Major Basil Jarrett, civil military cooperation and media affairs officer of the Jamaica Defence Force, the money, J$1.4 million and US$8,400, was found in a house in the volatile Bottom Pen community during a police-military operation.
Jarrett said that after the householder, a woman who was not identified, was asked if she had anything to declare, she said no. However, when the search turned up the money, she was not able to properly account for it. She was taken into custody and transported to the Freeport Police Station in Montego Bay, where she is now detained.