21 held in Spanish Town crackdown
Almost two dozen detainees were taken into custody on Tuesday as the St Catherine North police stepped up security operations in the division with snap raids in crime hotspots, including Lakes Pen, Ellerslie Pen, Tawes Pen, and Spanish Town proper.
Operations officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police Linroy Edwards, said the police were on an all-out assault on criminals throughout the division. Twenty-one persons were held on Tuesday.
Edwards said that his team went into Lakes Pen targeting a top-tier gangster. However, the suspect managed to escape but other players and relatives were detained.
“They were held and are going through an interview process. The space will not be a haven, whether its Clans or One Order gangsters,” Edwards said.
That reference is for the main gangs that have unleashed a reign of terror for two decades. Thirty-three members of the One Don Gang, a splinter of Clansman, are currently facing trial on a slew of charges under the anti-gang legislation.
Residents of Lakes Pen gave mixed reactions to the police operation on Tuesday, with some agreeing that it was necessary to quell the tensions in the community.
“We think that the police should be inside here to deal with the criminal dem dat a tek over di place,” a resident, who requested anonymity because of safety concerns, said.
Householders reported that despite the presence of a police checkpoint in the community, shootings and robberies still occurred.
“We want the police to keep up the pressure, but there must be sound investigation to properly prosecute the cases,” a taxi driver said.
It is understood that the police have had to exercise caution in engaging with residents because divisions also run along political lines. Sections of Lakes Pen are said to be supportive of the People’s National Party and there are fears that the drama generated by the trial, proceedings of which are taking place in Kingston, could ripple across the community.
Edwards said the police would be professional and unbiased in their approach to crime.
He disclosed that a business place in Spanish Town was raided and uncustomed goods seized on Tuesday.
“We will continue to go at the gangsters wherever they are,” Edwards told The Gleaner. “So far, one man has turned himself in to the police and he is being housed at the station.”