St James police seize 330 illegal guns in last three yearsMonday, March 22, 2021
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Saturday morning's predawn operation by members of the security forces, which netted three high-powered rifles, brought the tally of illegal guns seized to five during targeted raids across the parish over a 48-hour span.
The latest seizure on Saturday pushed the number of illegal guns recovered by the St James police since the start of the year to 39, and 330 over the past three years.
Saturday's operation, led by the St James police, also included members of the Fugitive Apprehension Team, the Canine Division, and the Caribbean Search Centre, along with army personnel.
The operation was carried out between 4:30 am and 10:00 am. Several premises were searched and two AK-47 assault rifles and an AR-15 assault rifle, along with four glock magazines — two of which are extended — as well as 21 (7.62) cartridges, 21 (5.56) cartridges, and 33 (9mm) rounds of ammunition were discovered.
This seizure followed Thursday morning's find of two 9mm pistols and nearly 200 rounds of ammunition on Refuge Lane, Ducketts Road, Cambridge, in the parish.
Reports from the police are that about 7:00 am, members of the Lottery Scam Task Force conducted a raid at an open lot in the community.
During the search two Taurus 9mm pistols and 175 9mm cartridges were found in a black plastic bag at the root of a tree.
No one was arrested in connection with Thursday's seizure.
However, up to late yesterday afternoon, the police had detained five people — including a female — for questioning in connection with Saturday morning's seizure.
In a release, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) said, “Police across the island continue to work assiduously to rid our nation of illegal firearms and ammunition and to create safer communities for our citizens.”
Commander of the St James Police Division, Superintendent Vernon Ellis, told the Jamaica Observer that the police have intensified their operations to rid the parish of illegal firearms, which has been the weapon of choice among gangsters.
“A high volume of guns are used by these gangsters here to create mayhem. There is a proliferation of lottery scam money to fund these gangs and so these hoodlums have the ability to buy these guns and keep buying guns,” Superintendent Ellis said.
“We are pushing harder and harder...we are just keeping on it. We are shifting the tempo of the operational posture. We change the rhythm of the operations to match the things that are happening on the ground,” he said.
He also had high commendation for those who participated in Saturday's successful operation, particularly the Canine Division and the Caribbean Search Centre.
In January, 19 illegal firearms and a large number of assorted ammunition were seized during an operation at the wharf in Montego Bay.
The cache of weapons included 13 handguns, all 9mm pistols; six high-powered rifles; 30 9mm magazines, nine magazines for rifles, and 474 rounds of assorted ammunition.
Since the start of the year 40 murders have been recorded by the St James police — a sharp increase over the 17 reported over the corresponding period last year.
— Horace Hines
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