By Chris Patterson
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) – Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, says that law-enforcement agencies will intensify their partnerships and coordinated operations to seize the unexplained wealth of criminals – the forfeiture of the proceeds of crime is critical in permanently dismantling criminal organisations.
The Commissioner was speaking at a digital press conference on Thursday, March 10, held in partnership with the Financial Investigations Division (FID), Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) and the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA).
“Through the collaborative efforts of the police working with the FID, Customs and MOCA, you will see more assets seized. You will see criminals forfeiting their ill-gotten gains. […] Let me serve notice [today] – we are going after the money,” he said.
“The criminals we are dealing with are not poor, unattached youth, who are hungry and destitute; far from it. These are men and woman who have made a conscious decision to pursue a life of crime and violence. They are amassing considerable amounts of wealth and they are using that wealth to purchase guns, to hire gunmen and support gangs,” he added.
Major General Anderson encouraged the public to support the work of the law enforcement community by providing information that will lead to arrests, charges and seizures.
“Criminals thrive when good people make the decision to do nothing. We are going after the money, but feel free to direct us as to where to find it,” he urged. Strategic partnerships are yielding results, leading to several seizures and arrests.
He said that over the course of one week, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) recovered 44 illegal guns and arrested three persons in connection with the 21 guns discovered by the Jamaica Customs Agency.
“We’re strengthening that Customs partnership in a big way. You’re going to see a lot more activities in relation to that. We also seized another 23 weapons off the road, and that was in partnership with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF). We charged 14 persons, so far, related to those seizures,” he informed.
The formation of the JCF and JDF joint anti-gang task force is another strategic partnership in addressing crime and violence.
Meanwhile, the Police Commissioner pointed out that gangs thrive because of the broader support systems that they rely upon, and as such, law enforcement will be going after the relatives, friends and associates, who assist the criminals in their activities.
“The girlfriends and mothers, who collect the extortion money, the school friends who register assets in their name, businesses that knowingly help them launder money, the family members and friends who try to clear the illegal weapons and ammunition, all of them are part of the gang and all of them are our target,” he warned.
Chief technical director, FID, Selvin Hay, said the entity has signed three Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with the Integrity Commission, MOCA and Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), to provide a framework for information-sharing, analysis, provision of financial profiles or documents for the purpose of prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of corruption, financial crime and revenue collection, among other things.
He said another agreement will be signed shortly with the Jamaica Customs Agency.