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Anti-gang operation reaping success out west - Nine guns recovered this week, two gangsters killed

Published:Thursday | October 10, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Western Bureau:

Four firearms were seized and two alleged gangsters shot dead yesterday, as the Area One police brought additional communities in western Jamaica under the spotlight of their initiative to dismantle criminal gangs and apprehend gangsters.

"This is not a one-off operation ...; it is going to be ongoing," said Sergeant Peter Salkey, the Constabulary Communication Network's liaison officer for St James. "The aim is to target and dismantle criminal gangs with a view of putting an end to the lawlessness they are involved in."

In the operation, which started about 3 a.m. and was supported by personnel from the Jamaica Defence Force, the lawmen targeted problem-plagued communities such as Mt Salem and Norwood in St James and Grange Hill, in Westmoreland.

In the early hours of the operation in the Gulf area of Norwood, a man, who reportedly engaged the police in gunfight, was shot dead and the weapon he had in his possession seized. Efforts to ascertain the identity of the dead man proved futile.

In the other incident in Alma district, near Grange Hill, in Westmoreland, an unidentified man was reportedly killed in another confrontation with police. Four guns were reportedly seized in the aftermath of that confrontation.

Nine guns seized this week

Yesterday's seizure brings to nine the number of illegal firearms seized in western Jamaica since the start of the week. In an operation in Birch Hill, St James, early Sunday morning, four guns, including an assault rifle, were seized and two men arrested. Eighty rounds of assorted ammunition were also found.

Despite the successes in St James, Senior Superintendent Andrew Lewis, the commanding officer for the parish, says their focus is more on recovering more illegal weapons than celebrating their success.

"We are not rejoicing at this time because we know that there are many more illegal guns out there in the hands of criminals that we need to take off the streets," said Lewis.

- Adrian Frater