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Scammers party in drag

Published:Sunday | July 8, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Kenrick 'Bebe' Stephenson (right) awaits processing by the police while two cross-dressers strike a pose for the camera after they were detained by the police yesterday.
This vehicle was among a number of high end vehile seized by the Lottery Scam Task Force in a raid on a popular night club in St Ann early Saturday morning.
Some of the items seized by the police at a popular nightclub in St Ann yesterday, including a toy gun, laptops, knives, drugs and cellular phones.

Several cross-dressers, some suspected to be involved in the illegal lottery scam, were taken into custody and a number of items, including motor vehicles, seized by the police yesterday during an intelligence-driven operation in St Ann which targeted scammers from western Jamaica.

Head of the Lottery Scam Task Force, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Leon Clunis, and his team raided a nightclub on the border of St Ann and Trelawny early yesterday morning and discovered scores of men dressed in women's apparel, some proudly displaying their get-up.

According to Clunis, two of the men held were wanted by the police.

They were identified as Kenrick 'Bebe' Stephenson, an alleged mastermind of the illicit lottery scam who was wanted for absconding bail, and a man from Kingston who the police did not name but said he was wanted for housebreaking and larceny.

Charges were also laid against a man in connection with a quantity of illegal drugs found at the club.

"We took in more than 130 patrons, and confiscated a number of phones, and about 15 vehicles, including Skylines, and we are presently sifting through to determine the ones we need," Clunis told The Sunday Gleaner.

"At this nightclub party, we thought that there were many females, but in reality there were not more than 11 females; most of them were males dressed as females," added Clunis.

"We have no interest in one's sexuality or sexual preference, we are dealing with crime and criminality in general. As long as it is committed, we are coming after you."

In May this year, Stephenson was charged with unlawful possession of property and abstracting electricity from the Jamaica Public Service Company.

The police were also probing his alleged involvement in the lottery scam after he was held by members of the task force during a raid in St James.

But Stephenson has reportedly failed to attend court, prompting the issuing of a warrant for his arrest.

proper documentation

"We are doing our jobs, and ensuring that what we do is properly documented," said Clunis.

"What is very important is that corporate Jamaica is on board and they have been giving us assistance in terms of intelligence and quick information to which we can respond."

In the meantime, Clunis disclosed that during an operation last Friday, another alleged major player in the lotto scam was arrested in the Santa Cruz area.

He was taken to a remittance service facility to collect some $250,000 which is believed to have been obtained through the purported sweepstakes.