SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — The police say they are reaping success in sections of the Savanna-la-Mar South area of this parish which is currently in its second day under a zone of special operations (ZOSO). More than 20 persons of interest have been taken in for questioning and four arrests have been made.
On Sunday, in response to ongoing flare-ups of violence that have earned Westmoreland the dubious distinction of being one of the police divisions with the highest murder figures last year, Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared the ZOSO for the areas of Russia, Dalling Street and Dexter Street.
On Monday, Senior Superintendent Robert Gordon, the officer in charge of the Westmoreland police division, told the Jamaica Observer multiple operations were carried out by the security forces that day, including stop and search, as well as targeted and snap raids.
During these operations, two individuals were arrested, six persons of interest taken in for processing and questioning, five motorcycles seized, more than 40 tickets issued and an undisclosed sum of marijuana confiscated.
The day before, on the first day of the security force's operations, more than 20 individuals were taken in for questioning, two arrests made and over 50 pounds of ganja seized.
No weapons have been recovered to date.
The parish had a bloody start to the new year, recording nine murders in comparison to two for the corresponding period in the previous year.
The police have pointed to lottery scamming and gang activities as major factors contributing to the bloodletting. There are five active gangs in the area.
“In Sav, it is the gang conflict. Gang against gang. Outside of Sav, most of what happens is really lottery scamming at the root of it,” said SSP Gordon.