August Town peaceful since death of Bedward Gardens’ thugs

August Town and surrounding areas of St Andrew have remained calm since the security forces killed five men in nearby Bedward Gardens on March 10, police have said.

Senior superintendent in charge of the St Andrew Central Police Division under which the communities fall, Marlon Nesbeth, has said that even after the demise of the men, cut down by a joint police and military team, the security forces are determined to dismantle the notorious Berry Gang, by apprehending its remaining members, some of whom are wanted on murder and shooting matters.

Cops said the five deceased, 48-year-old Colin Mingoes, alias “Speng”; 24-year-old Oniel Dixon; 20-year-old Ackeem McLean, alias “Tilo”; Taffari Dell; and Julanie Palmer, were active members of the gang.

Key among its members who are still at large and wanted by cops, are George “Boom” Ellis, Oshane “Chucky” Morris and Akeem “Duppy O” Thomas.

Nesbeth said although there is a sense of calm in the area, he described the environment as “tense”.

“No matter what, although the residents are reporting calm, in my mind it is really a tense calm and the people know that. We just have to keep at these persons. There are still wanted men in the space and there are still guns in the space. Our efforts continue to catch those wanted men and to recover the weapons.

“August Town, Bedward Gardens and adjoining communities, including the Dallas Road area, continue to be a clear threat to usual peace and orderliness because of what exists there in terms of criminal elements and their movements, reach and influence.

“The gang still exists. They still have guns, so what we have been doing is continuous efforts around them to include intel (intelligence) gathering processes and effecting our operational output to make sure we keep a lid on things,” Nesbeth told the Jamaica Observer.

The security forces seized seven firearms during their March 10 operation in Bedward Gardens, including three submachine guns.

The Observer recently visited the community of August Town to speak to residents about the state of crime in the community since the five men were taken out.

One of the main reasons for the security force’s operation which led to the demise of the five was that the people of the community were in fear due to constant attacks from the gang. They said that because August Town has been under a zone of special operations (ZOSO) since Wednesday, July 8, 2020, very few incidents of violence had erupted, except for when members of the Berry Gang fired their weapons at August Town residents.

The Observer also visited Bedward Gardens and residents there claimed that they have been terrorised by gangsters from August Town. They added that when the five men who were killed were alive, that would not have happened.

However, one male resident of August Town told the Observer that “Since the ZOSO come eeen, we never really a hear nuh whole heap a gunshot. There was a flare up, but it was from the men from across the river (the Bury Gang). Everything kinda quiet now, but based upon the history of this community, we still can’t just say all is well. We have to just live for each other. Dat man look out for me and me look out for da man deh. Suh we affi go do it. Di wrongdoing nuh mek mi get good sleep a night time”.

One woman said, “the place calm from dem gone because mi naa hear nuh bag a shot a fire. From the ZOSO dem deh yah still, nothing much nuh gwaan. Now and again you would hear some whole heap a shot but from the ZOSO deh yah, everything kinda cool down”.

An 88-year-old, August Town woman, said “after those men were killed, mi nuh hear nothing. Lord have mercy, mi used to feel a way man because of the gunshots. From them dead, mi nuh hear nothing”.

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