Police fear scamming on the march in the Corporate Area
Days after a special Television Jamaica-aired programme on the impact of lottery scamming on its victims in the United States, Senior Superintendent of Police Clifford Chambers is calling for vigilance in the face of what he says are signs that the infamous practice could be gaining a foothold in the Corporate Area.
SSP Chambers, who heads the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Division (C-TOC), told The Gleaner that while the bulk of players operate in the Area One Police Division, there is a gradual increase of activity involving lottery scamming in other parts of the island, including the Corporate Area. Area One covers St James, Trelawny, Westmoreland and Hanover.
"It is true that the bulk of the operatives in the lottery scam operate from Area One. What we have noticed, however, and are certainly paying great attention to, is the steady increase seen in the other parishes," SSP Chambers said.
His assessment of the situation comes on the heels of the arrest of five men in western Jamaica on Wednesday, said to be serious players in the scamming activity in parishes such as St James and Westmoreland.
The Financial Investigations Division, along with personnel from C-TOC, arrested 28-year-old labourer, Neville Clarke; 27-year-old Ramique Reid; 30-year-old Omar Pinnock; and 31-year-old Ansford Miller, all of Hatfield district in Westmoreland.
Also arrested was 50-year-old Pauline Tomlinson of Refuge district, Flower Hill, St James.
The arrests, according to SSP Chambers, mark the police's resolve to continue the fight against crime and a continued assault on organised crime in particular, which, in the case of western Jamaica, is one of the main causes of serious crime.
"Area One is troubled by this activity, which has a direct and, in some cases, indirect link to the high murder rates being experienced there. If the lottery scam takes root in the Corporate Area, it will be devastating on many levels," the senior cop said.
"We are already seeing the spread in St Ann and St Elizabeth, among others, but we are resolved to keep up the battle; and wherever we identify crime, we are obliged by law to stamp it out," he said.