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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05KINGSTON1572
2005-06-23 18:04:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Kingston
Cable title:  

JAMAICA: LAW ENFORCEMENT SNAPSHOTS

Tags:   PREL  SNAR  CASC  KCRM  ASEC  JM 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KINGSTON 001572 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAR (BENT), INL/LP (NBOZZOLO AND KBROWN),
SOUTHCOM FOR RHANNAN, CA/OCS/ACS/WHA RUTH BRANSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/17/2015
TAGS: PREL SNAR CASC KCRM ASEC JM
SUBJECT: JAMAICA: LAW ENFORCEMENT SNAPSHOTS

REF: A. KINGSTON 01465

B. KINGSTON 01501

Classified By: CDA Thomas C. Tighe for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

The following is a snapshot of recent law enforcement
developments:



1. Jamaica's First Money Laundering Conviction


2. PSB Probing Criminal Activity in the JCF


3. Operation Kingfish's Impact on Crime


4. 800 Pounds of Ganja Seized


5. Significant Seizure of Hash Oil



--------------------------


Jamaica's First Money Laundering Conviction


--------------------------





1. (U) According to officials of from the Finance Ministry's
Financial Investigation Division (FID), Jamaica had its first
conviction for money laundering on June 14 when Roxroy
Mendez, a former accounts supervisor at Victoria Mutual
Building Society (VMBS) in Ocho Rios, pleaded guilty to 32 of
59 counts of money laundering. Mendez was sentenced to two
years imprisonment at hard labor and fined JM$1 million.
Mendez' wife was charged with nine counts but was admonished
and discharged.



2. (U) Prosecutors claimed that Mendez used his position at
the building society to electronically transfer and convert
funds from the building society's account to savings accounts
held or controlled by him, his wife, and other connected
persons. An application will be made for the court to order
forfeiture of assets gained from the commission of the
offenses.



3. (C) In a June 17 conversation with Poloff, Director of the
FID, Christine Chambers, stated that the FID's investigation
into this case began in 2003 and because of the slow judicial
system, it took exactly two years to see it come to a
conclusion. She noted that Mrs. Mendez was discharged
because the prosecution took into consideration that the
family had two small children. Chambers stated that the FID
is very pleased with the outcome and noted that while the
Mendez case is not narcotics related, there are several
additional cases with the DPP, two of them high profile, that
are. She noted that over the past two years it has been very
frustrating attending meetings of the Caribbean Financial
Action Task Force and having to report that Jamaica had not
yet had a money-laundering conviction.



--------------------------


PSB Probing Criminal Activity in the JCF


--------------------------





4. (U) Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Assistant
Commissioner Novelette Grant told reporters on June 17 that a
number of police officers, including one high-ranking
officer, have been implicated in a car-theft ring. Details
are not being released as the investigation is ongoing. In
another case, a policeman was arrested on June 16 after he
was found with a substance resembling cocaine. The officer
will also face charges for illegal possession of ammunition.

Grant heads the Professional Standards Branch (PSB), a unit
of the JCF whose mandate is to stamp out corruption. This
announcement comes on the heels of Commissioner Lucius
Thomas' June 1 public statement that there are criminals
within the ranks of the JCF involved in crimes ranging from
selling ammunition to participation in the illegal drug
trade. (Ref A)



--------------------------


Operation Kingfish's Impact on Crime


--------------------------





5. (U) Operation Kingfish, a GOJ anti-crime initiative that
targets criminal gangs and organized crime leaders, has had a
significant impact on crime in Jamaica, noted Minister of
National Security Peter Phillips in a recent press
conference.



6. (SBU) Phillips alleged that there is an unfortunate
correlation between Operation Kingfish's successes and the
rise in violent crime, claiming that drug traffickers were
exacting vengeance on society for the damage done to their
business by Kingfish. NAS Law Enforcement Development
Advisor (LEDA) advised Poloff that while there is a
correlation between Kingfish and the rise in violent crime,
it is due to a reduction in drug proceeds that has encouraged
criminals to seek other means to finance their operations,
such as the extortion racket. Police intelligence attributes
many of the murders to gang infighting and turf battles.
(Note: As of June 22, Jamaica's murder rate was 820. End
Note.)



7. (SBU) Since June 1, Operation Kingfish has been credited
with the arrests of 17 people. The cases cover serious
crimes such as possession of illegal firearms and ammunition,
drug offenses, murder and shootings. Post law enforcement
representatives have also confirmed that as a result of
Operation Kingfish, Donald "Zeeks" Phipps, the PNP-linked
area leader of Matthews Lane in downtown Kingston, was
arrested for the April 15 murder of two men, and a raid of
Phipps' premises turned up JM$18 million, ski masks, bullet
proof vests, an Enforcer machine gun, ammunition and ganja.


--------------------------


800 Pounds of Ganja Seized


--------------------------





8. (U) On June 16, 14 knitted bags with approximately 111
packages of compressed ganja totaling 800 pounds were found
near the shore of Parottee beach in St. Elizabeth. The drug
has an estimated street value of JM$4 million. While an
unidentified man was apprehended in connection with the find,
he has not been charged.



--------------------------


Significant Seizure of Hash Oil


--------------------------





9. (SBU) On June 10, through the work of Post's DEA Country
Office, 974 pounds of hash oil with an estimated street value
of U.S.$5 million dollars, destined for Canada, was seized at
Donald Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. Three
men have been arrested in connection with this seizure. (Ref
B)



--------------------------


Comment


--------------------------





10. (SBU) The "snapshots" described above represent hard-won
GOJ law enforcement victories, some of which involved
cooperation with USG and UK entities. The cases demonstrate
both the types of successes of which the GOJ is capable (with
commitment and focus), and the variety and magnitude of the
law enforcement challenges facing the authorities. End
Comment.
TIGHE