Alleged gangsters slapped with multiple charges; 18 face court today

Alleged gangsters slapped with multiple charges; 18 face court today

TWENTY-FIVE of the 27 individuals who were detained earlier this month in connection with the Uchence gang that has been linked to at least eight murders and numerous rapes — including that of a 12-year-old girl — have been charged.

Among those charged is Detective Corporal Lloyd Knight.

Knight, who was assigned to the St Andrew North Police Division, is charged with accessory before the fact in the carrying out of a serious offence by a criminal organisation.

Yesterday, the police revealed that another police officer is also among those in custody. He's expected to participate in an identification parade today.

Meanwhile, the alleged leader of the 40-member gang, Uchence Wilson, 27, otherwise known as Terrence, and a number of his alleged top-tier members have been charged with multiple offences.

Wilson and one of his alleged gang members, Fitzroy Scott, are charged with leadership of a criminal organisation, 15 counts of facilitating serious offence by a criminal organisation and five counts of illegal possession of firearm. Scott is facing an additional charge of knowingly obtaining a benefit from a criminal organisation.

Other alleged gangsters Derron Taylor, Stephenson Bennett and Michael Lamont are charged with being part of a criminal organisation, nine counts of facilitating serious offence by criminal organisation, and three counts of illegal possession of firearm. While Taylor is facing an additional charge of knowingly obtaining a benefit from a criminal organisation, both Bennett and Lamont have also been charged with being accessories after the fact in the carrying out of a serious offence by a criminal organisation.

Eighteen of the 25 accused, who were charged under the anti-gang legislation, are expected to appear in the Supreme Court today. The other seven accused were charged with offences to include robberies, murder and rape.

Earlier this month, the head of the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime (C-TOC) Investigation Branch, Assistant Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey, told reporters at a press briefing at his office on Orange Street in downtown Kingston that the gang has been wreaking havoc in St Catherine, Clarendon, St Andrew, St Mary, Manchester, Trelawny, and St Ann.

The senior police officer said then, that the gangsters have gained over $400 million from their illegal activities across the island, and have been linked to 12 of the 15 licensed firearms that were reported stolen during 18 robberies.

In light of the alleged involvement of police officers in illegal activities, ACP Bailey pledged that the police will go wherever the evidence leads.

“It is one of the unfortunate things that, whilst we make that pledge to serve, some of our members continue to violate our ethical standard,” ACP Bailey said.

ACP Bailey made the disclosure at a press conference at his office yesterday.

Despite the challenges, Bailey said it is the police's responsibility and obligation to ensure that the public believes in them.

Bailey said the Jamaica Constabulary Force is the only organisation that polices itself.

“I hope that we are not misrepresented and misunderstood, because once we see the evidence, irrespective of who the person is — and I know that we continue to hear argument about corrupt police among us, but we can't go by anecdotal evidence — we have to go by hard evidence. Once we get the evidence, I can assure the public that the JCF and the commissioner is committed to ensure that where the evidence leads against a police officer, that person is brought to justice,” Bailey said.

Bailey also made an appeal to Jamaicans to participate in the fight against crime and violence.

“We believe we have the capacity in Jamaica to do a good job, but it is cooperatively that we are going to do it. Partnership — all of us working together to ensure that Jamaica becomes a better nation,” Bailey reasoned.

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