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Migratory criminals creating mayhem in St Elizabeth, says top cop

Published:Wednesday | May 18, 2022 | 12:09 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer


Eonomic growth in fast-rising St Elizabeth towns has lured migratory criminals to the southwestern parish, which is a great concern for law enforcers.

That’s presenting a threat to emerging hubs like Junction, where people are seeking to establish businesses, raise their children, and retire.

“Migratory criminals will use the opportunities to commit crimes, once they are requested to do so by their counterparts within the parish. They operate as one criminal network. They all met in prison, and when they come out it is mayhem on the land, not only in St Elizabeth, but right across the country,” Superintendent Dwight Daley, head of the St Elizabeth Police Division, said.

Daley suggested that there is a fluid network of gangsters who leverage cross-parish ties to commit crimes through proxies to evade detection.

“Our (St Elizabeth) criminals will go to Westmoreland and commit crimes, and they (Westmoreland criminals) would come up to St Elizabeth and commit crimes,” the divisional commander said in a Gleaner interview.

“If they are from Junction, they would not go upfront. They would send the persons from outside the parish to do the robbery, and then that person would leave and go back to Westmoreland, which makes it harder for the case to be solved.”

Robberies and shootings feature highly on the list of major crimes being committed in the parish.

Data from the Statistics Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force show that between January 1 and May 14 this year, St Elizabeth has seen 25 cases of robberies, an increase of 150 per cent from 2021.

Shootings have increased by 100 per cent, with 10 incidents over the period. Murders are also up by 80 per cent, with 18 cases.

Marlon Gager, a 38-year-old taxi operator and shop owner of Spring Park in the parish; and 34-year-old Samantha Johnson, a bartender of a Spanish Town, St Catherine address, are the latest murder victims after they were shot and killed while at a bar near Black River on Friday, May 13.

In explaining how the criminal network operates, Daley pointed to the murder of two Chinese business operators in Bellevue district in the parish on December 23 last year, where Haikong Wan, 48, and Shiyun Shu, 53, operators of Jojo Supermarket, were killed during a robbery by three gunmen at the store.

“Those killers are from St Mary, but they link with the criminals in St Elizabeth, and they also link with Westmoreland criminals. That is how they operate,” he said.

“The guys from down here, they went to St Mary, did a robbery and stole a licensed firearm. That’s how they work together to commit serious crimes,” the St Elizabeth police chief explained.

He said criminals are going to be interested in Junction because monies are being handled there; people work hard doing their farming, so they handle money.

“If a scammer makes a lot of money and they have the information, they are going for it,” he continued, pointing out that it is difficult to tie these criminals to any particular location.