MONTEGO BAY, St James — An anti-gang investigation that ran for two years resulted in the arrest Friday morning of 12 people, four of them cops, Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson revealed.
Late Friday afternoon the police also told the Jamaica Observer that another four members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) are believed to be involved in the gang. However, they have not yet been arrested.
“We also recognise that we have internal challenges in the organisation. Some of our members get involved in the same criminality, the same corruption, so we can't be naive to that,” General Anderson said at the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a new police station in Anchovy, St James.
“So just this morning we arrested 12 members of a gang as part of an ongoing gang investigation. Unfortunately, four of those members arrested are our own members,” General Anderson said.
“A lot of officers, when this happens, they feel down because why are our members involved in it? My point is this, it is the JCF arresting them. The JCF ridding ourselves of elements in it that are pulling down all of us. And so, as long as we do that, we are on the right path. That is what is important,” the police commissioner argued.
“We are a big organisation, probably the biggest single organisation in the Caribbean, and in that you have the good, the bad, and the others. We as an organisation cannot rely on anybody else to root out our own problems. We will do it, and where required we will arrest our own members and put them before the court. So, outward focus, inward focus. Ultimately, rule of law is going to prevail,” he said.
Later, at a news briefing Deputy Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey said that the investigation began after a series of crimes that caused the JCF to suspect police involvement.
“As a consequence, the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime investigation branch, along with the Criminal Investigation Branch and other formations within the Jamaica Constabulary Force, conducted a joint investigation into alleged breaches of the Criminal (Justice Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act, commonly called the anti-crime legislation. The investigation covered the period between 2019 and 2021 against members of the Ranko gang, which included police and civilians operating out of Clarendon,” Bailey said, adding that the police have identified more than 20 members of the gang and eight of them are cops.
Earlier in his address, Commissioner Anderson made reference to a gun attack in Maverley, St Andrew, Thursday night which resulted in the deaths of three people.
Police reported that a car with gunmen entered the community. Six people, who were standing at a spot were shot by the gunmen. The gunmen, on realising that one of the men was still alive, alighted the vehicle, stood over him and pumped more shots into his body. They then drove away.
Anderson told his audience that he had visited the community Friday morning.
“I was with a family in Maverly who are mourning the loss they had last (Thursday) night in a shooting and murder of some people in Maverly. So we have deployed there, we are doing all sorts of operations there, and that is what that space requires, and we will continue to do that. That is gang violence, gun violence and gunmen in action,” he said.
“The good thing is we responded immediately. We actually had a running gun battle with the criminals. They abandoned the car and escaped, but we have the car in our custody and we will apply the science that we have to that, and we will find them,” the commissioner stated.
“As a matter of fact, we already have a good idea of who might have done it. So we may not be able to stop everything, but we are applying those technologies,” he added.
“I am acutely aware that there is this issue of guns, gunmen and gangs, ever present, creating mayhem in our society, death and pain. We never, as a JCF, can lose sight of that and we never do. For us, it is very real and it is very present because we are the ones who wake up every single morning looking at that and it informs how our day goes — what we have to do,” he stated.