Jamaican Posse Members Jailed in National Gang Sweep
by Jim Kouri, CPP
Five Jamaican Posse members are behind bars following an investigation by special agents from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Buffalo, NY office and the Rochester, NY Police Department. The arrests are the latest in Western New York as part of Operation Community Shield, a anti-criminal alien initiative launched by ICE roughly one year ago to disrupt and dismantle transnational, violent street gangs in the United States, many of whom are illegal immigrants.
The five individuals are all illegally present in the United States. One of the gang members has re-entered the country after deportation and has been charged with a federal felony by US Attorney for the Western District of New York. Three individuals have been charged federally with possession of fraudulent documents and one of those also faces a federal charge of illegal alien in possession of a weapon.
During the arrests a total of 17 pounds of marijuana and a stolen handgun were seized. One of the gang members will also face state drug charges.
All of the individuals have been identified as members or associates of the Hanna Street Posse, a gang active in the Rochester area. The suspects will all be charged with immigration violations in addition to any possible criminal charges. They will be placed in removal proceedings and will appear before an immigration judge.
Peter J. Smith, special agent in charge of the Buffalo ICE office said working with local police is critical to attacking the gang problem in New York and around the nation. “These five arrests will make the streets of Rochester a safer place,” Smith said. He pointed out that all of the individuals either came to the country legally and overstayed their visa or entered illegally. “Either way,” Smith said, “they will all face prosecution and deportation and will not be able to continue their gang activity in Rochester.”
“Our top priority is public safety and to have these five individuals off the street is an excellent accomplishment,” Acting Police Chief James Sheppard said.
"Officers John Brennan and Andrew Santell from our Special Investigations Section worked extremely hard on this investigation, assisted by additional support from our Special Investigations Section and Tactical Unit. They should especially be commended. Partnering with agencies such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is vital to our success. We will continue to coordinate with these agencies to clean up our streets and make our community a safer place to live and work,” Sheppard said.
In a related case in New Jersey, federal agents arrested the leadership of the Colombian drug gang Los Gamines. The organization, based in several communities in Hudson County, is an up-and-coming gang heavily involved in narcotics trafficking and other crimes.
All 13 of the gang members and associates arrested have criminal records. The investigation showed that the Los Gamines gang was heavily involved in narcotics trafficking and was slowly developing alliances with other infamous street gangs such as MS-13 and the Latin Kings.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.