Witness gives chilling details of King Valley Gang operations

Witness gives chilling details of King Valley Gang operations

BY ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS
Senior staff reporter
dunkleywillisa@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

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A key prosecution witness yesterday provided chilling details of the underbelly of feared Westmoreland-based King Valley Gang, also known as Lawless Gang, during the trial of eight alleged members who are now before the Home Circuit Court facing criminal charges, including rape, murder, and aggravated robbery.


Testifying by live video link from a remote location, the witness, who cannot be identified based on the orders of the court, claimed that members of the outfit — several of whom the individual identified as cronies — were involved in the deadly lottery scamming scheme, committed murders in the course of robberies and were also killers for hire.


“I made money by scamming and robberies and also we go and do hitman work. So that if someone should die we get paid to kill the person. I do most of the scamming with my nephew, my cousin and some of my friends and some of the gang also,” said the main witness, who the court was told was a member of the gang up until 2018 before 'voluntarily' indicating a desire to assist in the apprehension of the members.


The court was told that the individual who was the “sponsor” for the gang “is a scammer and supplied the gang with money” from scamming “clients (some of whom were) white people”.

When asked how often money was given to the leader of the gang by the alleged sponsor, the witness said amounts of up to $100,000 were given to the individual at least twice weekly.


“I usually pick up scamming money from some of the scammers so I know how much,” the individual said, naming two money transfer agencies from which the huge sums were supposedly collected. These monies, the witness said, were at times used to “buy food and cook and drink rum” at a spot in the community at least two or three times weekly.


“They would have cookouts and party and drink and fire shots like gun salute, like if music a play, like a gunman tune, they would take out their guns and fire shots,” the witness told the Court.


The witness said gang members, when carrying out their deeds, would attire themselves in black jeans and hooded pullovers. Bike robberies, which were a key source of income and were done based on “orders from persons who wanted bikes to buy”, were carried out with deadly precision several times weekly.


“We would bring ropes, we would walk from Kings Valley and there's a bridge at Glasgow that we would go to and cast persons off their bikes… we would stand in the bush, one on the right and one on the left and when we hear the bike coming…we would both hold an end of the rope, we would stretch the rope firm so that when the bike reach, the rope would hook the person on the bike and haul him off the bike,” the individual testified.

The bike would then be taken back to their hideout and repairs done, if necessary, before being sold.


As for those who were robbed, “he would get up and run off or if he's trying to come back for the bike we would back gun and tell him to run, we wouldn't shoot”, the witness detailed.


The witness, who admitted to being recruited by the gang in 2013, testified to having known members who were schoolmates and from the community as well and described to the court the types of guns that were used by the individuals in the gang, admitting to being the one who would “usually lock the guns” for the head of the gang and detailed collecting up to $100,000 for a hit carried out on an individual that was divided equally with the accomplice in that killing.


Yesterday, a senior prosecutor in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions leading the evidence said members would meet at King's Shop in the Kings Valley community where 'missions' were planned and spoils distributed. The location also served as the place from which the alleged gang members could see who was coming into the community. The court was told that their modus operandi was larceny of motorbikes, which would then be sold to unsuspecting individuals for the most part.


The eight men are charged in an indictment containing 11 counts and are accused of facilitating serious offences, conspiring to commit murder, rape, indecent assault, and robberies with aggravation from as early as 2013.


Yesterday morning, the individual who was the ninth accused in the case walked free after the prosecution indicated it had no evidence in respect of the two counts for which he was charged and brought before the courts.


Ricky Hall, otherwise called “Bad Wata” of Peggy Barry, had been charged with being part of a criminal organisation, facilitating the commission of various offences by a criminal organisation and knowingly providing a benefit to a criminal organisation under the Criminal Justice Suppression of Criminal Organisations Act following a joint police/military operation at Kings Valley in the parish in October of 2018.


Yesterday, a senior prosecutor who led the evidence in the case informed trial judge Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, moments before the trial began, that “the Crown had no evidence against Hall in respect of counts 10 and three”. The chief justice then told Hall that he was free to go.


Yesterday, after the eight pleaded, Justice Sykes advised “please sit, gentlemen, make yourselves at home, you are going to be here for a while”.


Some 13 witnesses are expected to testify in the trial of the alleged gang members with no more than 10 entering the witness box.
The trial resumes today at 10:00 am.


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