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Joel Andem's brother recaptured after six years on the lam

Jamaica Observer

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 | 8:10 AM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Christopher Andem, brother of incarcerated gang boss Joel Andem, is now back behind bars after escaping custody six years ago.

Police report that Andem escaped from their custody while at the St Ann’s Bay Police lock-up on June 1, 2006. He was recaptured last Friday, in a tough community known as 'Mud Town', nestled in the hills above Papine in St Andrew.

At the time of his escape, Andem was awaiting trial for the murder of Panton Campbell, 48, a farmer of Campbell Land district in Cave Valley, St Ann which was committed on June 25, 2005.

During the interview process with investigators, Christopher Andem gave his name as Joseph Thorpe, otherwise called 'Justin' but following further checks it was confirmed that he was in fact, Christopher Andem.

His brother Joel Andem, former leader of the Gideon Warriors gang, is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for shooting with intent and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

During his reign of terror Joel Andem and his gang wreaked havoc in sections of the Corporate Area and ran a massive extortion ring.

He was for years the nation's most feared fugitive and topped the most wanted list for months.

Police at the time said they suspected Joel Andem was involved in at least 23 murders.

He was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment at hard labour on a charge of illegal possession of a firearm.

He was also was slapped with another 20-year prison sentence in relation to other gun-related charges.

Andem's gang has been accused of robberies, rapes and killings, including the August 2000 kidnapping and murder of service station operator Sylvia Edwards, whose body was found in a shallow grave.

The Gideon Warriors gang came to national prominence in early 2002 when the police, during a raid at their camp at Rawly Hill Gully in St Andrew,  found video recordings of Andem and his men, armed with high-powered rifles and other weapons, hosting a Christmas treat for children in the community and even slaughtering a bull.

Several gang members were killed in confrontations with the police and Andem was eventually captured in May 2004 at a house he allegedly built in the hills of St Ann.

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