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Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Jamaica handguns, rifles and bullets that stoke one of the world's highest murder rates.

Handguns, rifles and bullets that stoke one of the world's highest murder rates.
The volume is much less than the flow of U.S. guns into Mexico that end up in the hands of drug cartels -- Jamaican authorities recover fewer than 1,000 firearms a year. But of those whose origin can be traced, 80 percent come from the U.S., Jamaican law enforcement officials have said in interviews with The Associated Press.
And as the Obama administration cracks down on smuggling into Mexico, Jamaicans fear even more firearms will reach the gangs whose turf wars plague the island of 2.8 million people.''It's going to push a lot of that trade back toward the Caribbean like it was back in the '80s,'' said Vance Callender, an attache at the U.S. Embassy in Kingston for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).U.S. authorities are beginning to target the Jamaican gun-smuggling network as part of a broad effort to boost security in the Caribbean.But they have a long way to go. Jamaican authorities have confiscated only 100 guns coming into ports in the last five years, along with 6,000 rounds of ammunition. That in turn is just a fraction of the 700 or so weapons confiscated on the streets each year.Authorities know they're only seeing ''the tip of the iceberg,'' said Mark Shields, Jamaica's deputy police commissioner.With arsenals to rival police firepower, the gangs are blamed for 90 percent of the homicides in Jamaica -- 1,611 last year, about 10 times more than the U.S. rate, relative to population.Unlike in Mexico, the vast majority of Jamaican guns seized are submitted for tracing. Jamaica and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives find most of the seized weapons come from three Florida counties -- Orange, Dade and Broward -- all with large Jamaican populations, according to Shields.X-ray scanners were installed two years ago at Jamaican ports, but the gangs use bribery and intimidation to get their shipments past inspectors.In April, a newly hired customs supervisor had his tires slashed and days later was shot at on his way home from work, authorities say. The man was known for his strict scrutiny of cargo coming into a gang-infiltrated warehouse on the Kingston wharf.When the gangs apply pressure, ''no one says no,'' said Danville Walker, Jamaica's commissioner of customs.


mikeb302000 said...

I've really enjoyed looking at your site, in fact I put it in my reader. I wondered though why you post these stories.

I wrote something myself about Jamaica recently.


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