Lottery scam causing many of Montego Bay's murders
Published: Monday | March 9, 2009
The lottery scam which has taken root in St James continues to be directly linked to the escalating murder rate in the parish since January.
Senior Superintendent Paul Ferguson, the deputy chief in charge of the Area One Division, confirmed last Thursday that the upsurge in murders was linked to the fraud web.
Ferguson was responding to questions posed by The Gleaner in relation to the killing of at least six persons across the parish between last Sunday and Thursday and at least five others last week.
Those killed between Wednesday night and Thursday were Errol Tomlinson, 43, truck driver of Long Corner, Mount Carey; Osmond Hanson, 53, cane vendor, of Salt Spring; and Patrick Murray, 28, labourer of Granville.
Police believe Tomlinson and Murray's deaths were linked to the scam. It is believed Tomlinson was mistaken for someone else.
Things got worse on Sunday when gunmen killed four people. The reasons for those murders have not been ascertained.
In recent weeks, there had been a lull in murders across the parish, as a result of an initiative undertaken by the St James police, personnel in neighbouring parishes and the Jamaica Defence Force. The drive reaped reasonable success, but has had a recess since.
"We had some outside support and we were extremely active in carrying out a lot of operations in the parish," said Ferguson.
"The lotto scam is causing most of the murders, whether it is through disagreement of the sharing of money, or jealousy of what others are earning, but there is disagreement in communities, which often results in a series of reprisal killings."
The cop attributed the violent outbreaks to the relative ease with which guns fell into the wrong hands.
The lottery scam targets mainly North American citizens has netted tens of millions of dollars.