Big gun seizure in Jamaica

FLORENCE HALL, Trelawny — Two days after Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson told the country that the strategies and intelligence-gathering capabilities being utilised by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) are bearing fruit, law enforcers on Thursday seized 13 illegal firearms, including 10 high-powered rifles, from criminals.

In what the police described as a targeted operation in a gated community in Trelawny, a man identified as 36-year-old ex-convict Kevin Carpenter of Florence Hall and Cornwall Street, Falmouth in Trelawny, was shot dead and more than 500 rounds of ammunition seized.

Additionally, the police reported that three men who had been wanted in western Jamaica were recently captured.

A senior investigator told the Jamaica Observer that the guns and ammunition seizure has put a major dent in a thriving gunrunning operation in western Jamaica.

The police also say a woman has been taken into custody in connection with the capture of the arms cache. Among the 10 high-powered rifles are two AK-47, three M16s and five AR15s. Two sub-machine guns and a pistol are included in the seized arsenal.

According to Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Dahlia Garrick, who is assigned to the JCF Corporate Communications Unit, Carpenter was a top-tier member of the Compound gang, based in Trelawny. He was released from prison in 2018 after serving a sentence for a shooting.

Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the Area One Police Division Clifford Chambers disclosed that Carpenter is related to a Westmoreland gang leader who was arrested and charged with murder, but was granted bail and instructed to stay outside Westmoreland.

Chambers said the address that the gangster gave on securing bail was Carpenter’s home in Florence Hall, Trelawny.

“Investigations continue to gather evidence related to other serious crimes, as we speak,” Chambers told the Jamaica Observer.

Meanwhile, DSP Garrick reported that the operation, which led to the fatal shooting and the subsequent recovery of the weapons, commenced around 11:30 am and was a joint effort between the Area Two Fugitive Apprehension Team and the Trelawny police.

“This gun find is definitely [a part of] an ongoing investigation with aspects of it being transnational. We will be looking at all leads in this matter,” Garrick told reporters.

She added that the operation formed part of the initiative announced by the police commissioner under which the Jamaica Constabulary Force will be focusing on guns, gangs and gunmen.

“We are asking Jamaicans to continue to give us your support, share information that you know, information about this case or any other case, guns and gunmen. Let’s partner and make safer communities,” Garrick appealed.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Anderson also appealed to residents of swanky neighbourhoods to report suspicions activities to the police.

“This is a continuation of our ongoing crackdown on guns, gunmen and gangs. Gunmen are moving uptown, they have acquired wealth and are living in gated communities. This is why it is important for persons, even in upscale communities, who see strange activities or persons, to provide information to the police. Even with our improving intelligence capabilities we need your help to find them,” General Anderson stated.

“We can also confirm that, in recent days, three of western Jamaica’s most wanted are now in custody to be charged for various offences,” the commissioner revealed.

“This gun violence problem is not an inner-city problem, it is a national problem. We will continue our crackdowns on these gangsters who seek to cause death, mayhem, and pain in our country,” Anderson said, reiterating comments he made at a news conference on Tuesday this week.

“Our strategies are focused on guns and the removal of guns from the hands of murderers. The members of the JCF have been extending themselves without break since last year because we had an increase in murders. Murders are 72 per cent gang-related and 19 per cent interpersonal. About five to seven per cent came as a result of some other criminal activity,” General Anderson had told journalists at the virtual news conference.

“We spend a lot of resources and a lot of effort is placed on actually stopping killers from killing each other and their families and associates, and we must continue that, but we also have a range of responsibilities to the people of Jamaica. I want people to understand the context [in which] the JCF and the Jamaica Defence Force operate — death, mayhem, and pain,” he said.

Last month the police seized 88 guns, including 13 rifles and 59 pistols.

“Thirteen rifles is the most we have seized in the month of January since before 2011. We have also seized 59 pistols, which amount to an overall 17 per cent increase in firearm seizures,” Anderson had reported Tuesday.

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