Following killing of four men... Gangsters share cops info on WhatsApp
Following killing of four men ...
THE STAR has been tipped off that police personnel from the St Catherine South Police Division involved in last week's seizure of five firearms, cash and drugs in the Old Harbour Bay area of St Catherine have been put on high alert.
This following the discovery of information being relayed among criminals, via WhatsApp, about their identities and places they frequent.
A high-ranking officer from the division was tight-lipped about the discovery when contacted yesterday, saying only that the details were sensitive and personnel involved have been advised to heighten their awareness.
However, a police source told The STAR that a cellphone taken from a suspect in the matter revealed WhatsApp communication indicating that the affected gang is gathering information on police personnel involved in the ongoing operation, their identities and how they can be best targeted.
A particular policeman, The STAR understands, was extensively discussed and appears a primary target as his image was found with comments regarding his identity, where he is stationed in the division, as well as details of gunbattles with criminals in which he has featured and where best to find him, based on where he frequents.
Last Tuesday, police recovered three illegal guns in an alleged gunbattle in which four men were fatally shot. The lawmen returned to the area early Friday morning and found two additional weapons in an abandoned fowl coop - a sniper rifle and a handgun.
A man, said to be the mastermind of the drugs-for-guns trade in the area, was also apprehended.
The drugs-for-guns trade between Jamaica and Haiti is considered a billion-dollar business that impacts Jamaican gangs' income and firepower, hence gang leaders' bravado to stop anyone who gets in their way, including the police.
However, Superintendent Leighton Gray, head of operations, St Catherine South police, has vowed to restore Old Harbour Bay to its tradition of being the place for Jamaicans to travel from far and wide to purchase fish, not guns.
"What we have done is to increase our level of level of operational activities. On Tuesday, we had a quadruple fatal shooting involving men who came into the area to buy firearms. We accosted the players and they engaged the police in a gunfight.
"We returned to the area Friday as part of the ongoing operation and found two more guns. There were no fatalities this time around, but we held one man, said to be the mastermind behind the operations out there," Gray added.
Cash was found in Tuesday's operation and compressed ganja of eight pounds was seized on Friday, leaving Gray convinced that the police are making inroads into the deadly trade which has been pulling gunmen from all over the island to Old Harbour Bay.
"We believe we are impacting their operations, certainly this past week," Gray said. "To recover five guns, cash and ganja, based on our efforts and thrust, plus increased level of police activities, joint military support, from Portmore as well, we are bent on ensuring the trade is eradicated or minimised as much as possible, in this area."