Michael Nattoo – Staff Reporter
Lawmen attached to the St. James police, as well as residents of the violence-prone community of Flanker, are breathing a sigh of relief – but cannot escape the undercurrent of fear – following the shocking find of military-grade weapons in a section of the West Central community. In the successfully executed joint Police/Military operation carried out on Monday, September 27, 2017, four high-powered M16 rifles, a Glock .45 pistol, and 87 assorted rounds of ammunition, were swept up by the security forces.
Reports reaching this newsroom are that between 4 a.m. and 2 p.m., swarms of security personnel attached to the JCF and the JDF, descended upon an area in Flanker known as Bronx or Red Dirt and seized control of a particular household.
The premises was then searched, following which the weapons and ammunition were found. And though, up to press time, no one has been charged in connection with the rare find, the police are being proactive, taking into custody twelve males and a female, who are reasonably suspected of having some connection to the extremely lethal weapons found.
The Western Mirror reached out to Deputy Superintendent of Police in charge of St. James, Gary McKenzie, who was involved in the operation, who revealed that the police“… have had some very challenging situations in the Flanker community, especially as far as gangs are concerned.” The high-ranking police officer further added that, “gang members are playing it out against each other, resulting in several incidences of shooting being reported.” As a result, the security forces felt it was best to act swiftly to curb the rising lawlessness, which resulted in the operation carried out on Monday. “We are really in the middle of the operation,” McKenzie explained, adding that the operation will continue until residents feel safe again. “We want to reassure the decent, law-abiding citizens of this community that we are not going to leave them. We will do all that we can to ensure that peace prevails in this particular area,” McKenzie concluded.
Over the past week, the Police have seized approximately 26 firearms across the island, and over 390 assorted rounds of ammunition. Added to those numbers are guns found in Flanker, along with their accompaniment of 63 bullets of the 5.56mm variety, the 4 bullets belonging to the .45 pistol, and the 311 bullets, coupled with a circular magazine, which has the capacity to hold up to 45 rounds.
The JCF wishes to remind residents that in order for them to maintain peace and ensure public safety, information has to be shared with them about wanted persons, illegal weapons and suspicious persons traversing their communities.