Jamaican Posses

Street gangs in the United States and Jamaica

Jamaican gangs, known as posses, formed during the 1970's around Kingston, Jamaica. Although members of a given Jamaican posse tend to originate from the same neighborhood in Jamaica, notable exceptions include the Rat Posse, all of whose members have killed Jamaican police officers; the Hotsteppers, composed only of Jamaican prison escapees who have been convicted of a capital offense; and the Shower Posse, so named from its practice of showering victims with bullets. Between 1985 and 1992, more than 4,000 U.S. homicides were attributed to Jamaican gangs.

Jamaican Drug Trafficking Organizations (JDTOs), also referred to as "posses," "crews," and "massives," are generally mobile, loosely knit groups that engage in a variety of criminal activities including; drug and firearms trafficking, money laundering, murder, assault, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud. They deal in several types of drugs, including cocaine, marijuana (ganja), heroin, and PCP.  There are also the One Order and Clansman gangs, known mostly for extortion. The gangs have threatened residents and accused them of being police informers.

Violence is an integral part of JDTO operations and their members are usually well armed with modern weapons. Violence is most often directed at individuals perceived to be a threat to their illegal ventures, but they have little regard for bystanders. They are particularly brutal using torture, dismemberment and other extreme measures to intimidate rivals and members. JDTO members often resist arrest and have been in a number of shootings with law enforcement.

While JDTOs have been characterized as loosely knit, they have an extensive national and international network to carry out their illegal activities.

Historical Overview

Jamaican crime groups adopted a distinctly named "posse" to distinguish each group. They began as street gangs in Jamaica. Their formation was based on political affiliation, neighborhood, or group characteristics. For example, the Waterhouse Posse is from the Waterhouse area of Kingston, Jamaica
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The Shower and Spangler Posses are the oldest, largest, and most organized in the United States. The Shower Posse derives its name from the reputation of showering victims with bullets. This group supports the Jamaican Labor Party. Based primarily in Miami and New York, the Shower Posse has expanded to at least 15 other states and Canada.

The Jamaican Posses originally began trafficking in marijuana. Marijuana routes to the United States were established in the early 1970’s. Today the Jamaicans’ drug activity has extended to cocaine, particularly crack and is facilitated by airstrips and networks which were established to support the marijuana trade.

NOTE: In the early 1970’s United States aircraft, flown by smugglers, were known to make nighttime landings on the islands north coast highway to pick up loads of marijuana. The temporary landing strips was set up by blocking the highway to all vehicular traffic and by using highway emergency flares to outline the “runway.” 

 

 

 

 

 

These pictures show what can happen when you cheat Jamaican drug dealers.

This U.S. smuggler had flown a prior load of marijuana out of Jamaica, but he made the mistake of paying for it with counterfeit U.S. currency. He later made arrangements for a second load of "ganja" and flew to the island to pick up his load. In reprisal for being cheated on the first load, the dealers set out the “runway” flares in a crocodile infested swamp lying parallel to the highway. The results of the trip were not what the pilot had envisioned.

Operations

The distribution of drugs is directed by high-ranking members. Drugs and weapons are stored in stash houses, also known as control points, which supply street-level distribution centers known as “crack houses” or “gate houses.” The loss of any portion of the operation will not completely shut it down. Street-level distribution points are expendable and the loss of a stash house is not disastrous
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Gate houses are often equipped with surveillance cameras and security devices. Weapons may be hidden in floors or wall panels and armed guards or “managers” keep law enforcement or other intruders from entering.

Jamaican traffickers enlist the services of youths and females as lookouts, drivers and couriers. The theory involved in using juveniles (also a theory supported by many other gangs of U.S. origin) is that, if caught, the punishment will be less severe than for an adult. Women are often used to purchase residences, automobiles and weapons.

Jamaican Posses Operating in the United States

The following is a partial list of identified Jamaican Posses operating in the United States. This list is only to show how wide-spread the posses are in cities throughout the U.S.
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BANTON POSSE - Baltimore, Miami, Washington, D.C.

BROWN POSSE - Houston

BUSHMOUTH POSSE - Miami, New York, St. Louis

CUBAN POSSE - Kansas City, Miami, New York, Philadelphia

JUNGLE POSSE - Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York

MONTEGO BAY POSSE - Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Houston, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Seattle, Washington, D.C.

SHOWER POSSE - Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Hartford, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Seattle, Toronto, Québec, Washington, D.C.

SPANGLER POSSE - Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Seattle, Washington, D.C.

NOTE: Due to law enforcement efforts, these locations may have changed in recent years. In addition to the posses named above, there are approximately 32 additional posses that have been identified.

SOURCES: USDOJ, FBI, ATF


More Jamaican Posse Information Links

VIDEO: Gangs in Jamaica (2006)

 

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Robert Walker
 

This page was last updated on 03/14/2014

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