Jamaican Posse

The Jamaican Posse is a loose coalition of gangs, based predominantly in the New York City area, first being involved in drugs and gun-running in the early 1980s. It is widely claimed that the Jamaican Posses are affiliated with Jamaican political parties, such as the Jamaica Labour Party and the People's National Party.

The JLP posses dominate the east and south of Kingston and other smaller towns and the PNP posses are mainly found in the Western side and there are a few that state they are not allied to either Political party. These are often in the Northern slums of downtown Kingston.

In the United Kingdom they are referred to as Yardies


The presence of Jamaican organized crime in the United States was documented on an operational level as early as 1976, but some members of the Jamaican posses, have been in the United States since 1971. However, it has been only since 1983 that these posses have come to the attention of law enforcement. Initially, they operated primarily in southern Florida, and law enforcement officials there believe that the posses have come farther, faster than any other organized criminal group now active in the United States. Originally dealing in marijuana and guns, from 1983, they expanded into crack cocaine. Their centers of drug trafficking are New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Miami, with Connecticut's major cities as secondary distribution points (Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport). Today a large number of Posse members are in prison in these areas.

Although their members originate from Jamaica, they are not connected with the Rastafarian religion, who predominantly associate themselves with the production and sale of marijuana. There is a rift between the two groups over the production of
cocaine in Jamaica - the Rastafari are against the production of harder drugs than cannabis.

Jamaica, the third largest island in the Caribbean, was once the world's largest producer of bauxite, the principal source of aluminum. However, a decline in the world demand for bauxite in the 1960's hurt the Jamaican economy severely, resulting in a migration of workers from the countryside into the cities and particularly into Kingston, the already crowded capital. It was in an environment of abject poverty, rampant marijuana use and political corruption that the violent street gangs of Kingston were born. These gangs were formed on the basis of neighborhood boundaries as well as political affiliation. Both of Jamaica's major political parties, the Jamaican Labor Party (JLP) and the Peoples National Party (PNP), used the street gangs to influence the electoral process. In the election campaign of 1980, for instance, more than 400 persons were murdered as a result of political disputes. Victorious candidates rewarded their supporters in the gangs with projects for their neighborhoods, development and basic municipal services.

The evolution from street gangs to posses was gradual. The gangs adopted the term "posse" because of their fondness for American western films and because the word connoted the use of violence to enforce political will and to protect neighborhoods from intrusion by rival gangs. Violence was important to a posse member to prove his manhood and to develop a reputation within the neighborhood for being aggressive. Because each neighborhood had certain political loyalties, the posses began to merge in order to exert more influence within their favorite political party. Each posse eventually came to be structured, with a particular leader – in some cases called a general – and a substructure divided into cells. The size of each cell varied depending on the size of the neighborhood from which it emanated. Cell leaders were sometimes called captains or lieutenants.

The initial impetus for the migration of Jamaican posse members to the United States in the 1970's was simply the need for funds to obtain semi-automatic and automatic weapons to be used in the perpetual gang warfare in Kingston. Once in this country, posse members were soon able to take over marijuana distribution networks of non-violent Jamaicans who preceded them here. As the posses matured in the United States, the leaders became more insulated from actual street drug sales and expanded into bulk distribution, especially when they became involved in the cocaine and crack markets.

Since the mid-1970's, posses have been involved in trafficking the high-grade sinsemilla strain of marijuana called "Jamaican Gold," which is indigenous to Jamaica. By 1984, the various posses became active in the transportation and distribution of cocaine and crack, also called rock cocaine. In addition to drug distribution, the posses are involved in trafficking of firearms and in kidnappings, robberies, home invasions, alien smug- gling and money laundering.

Between 1984 and 1988, the posses developed a three-tiered organizational structure that is similar in many respects to that of the Mafia. At the top, the leader receives financial remuneration but never becomes directly involved in the transportation or distribution of drugs. Cell leaders at the second tier direct the transportation of drugs, guns and money between the street level operatives and the leader. Street level drug dealers at the third tier are primarily illegal aliens smuggled into the United States solely to staff the drug houses. The posses store their supplies of cocaine and marijuana at locations called "stash houses." On a daily basis, small quantities of cocaine are taken from the stash houses to places used solely for street level sales called "gates" or "gatehouses." Such a system minimizes the impact of police raids on the larger operation.

As with other organized criminal groups, adaptability has become a characteristic of the Jamaican Posses. Between 1983 and 1986, when large numbers of posse members began moving out of upper Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx to establish networks in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., some law enforcement interdiction programs were successful. Additionally, the New Jersey State Police and police from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have arrested many Jamaicans on drug possession and weapons charges.

As a result of these arrests, according to informants for the State Commission of Investigation, posse members, after 1986, began using only couriers to transport drugs. By the spring of 1987, these couriers were using primarily buses and trains on trips from New York to points south. Posse members fly back and forth between New York and their bases of operations to make arrangements for drug purchases or sales but only the couriers actually transport the contraband. Additionally, after 1986, posse members began buying some weapons locally, using local African-American females, but since this was risky in many jurisdictions, they also continued importing weapons by vehicle from Florida and Texas.

The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) estimates that there are at least 40 Jamaican posses with more than 13,000 members operating in the United States. Most of these posses are spin-off groups from the major posses. Five posses have been positively identified as having drug distribution networks in the New York and New Jersey areas.

The two well documented largest Jamaican posses that frequently come into the news are the Spangler Posse and the Shower Posse These are the original groups , and many of the active posses in the United States are spin-offs from these two. Traditionally, the Shower and Spangler groups have been bitter enemies because of their political differences.

Members of the Shower Posse are avid supporters of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) allegedly aligned with the United States and the CIA), while Spangler Posse members have been solidly behind the opposition People's National Party PNP (socialistic tendencies rumored to be aligned with Fidel Castro).

The first posses to operate in the United States were the Untouchables from Tecks Lane in the Raetown section of Kingston, and the Dunkirk Boys from the Franklintown area of Kingston. Based on presently available information, the Untouchables arrived in New York City around 1973 but the group is no longer active because most of its members were either murdered or imprisoned. Its few remaining members have been absorbed into other posses, primarily the Shower Posse. The Dunkirk Boys are believed to have arrived in the United States around the same time as the Untouchables and are still active in drug distribution throughout the United States.


Jamaican Posse members are known for gun battles with the police and drive-by shootings in disputes with rival gangs over drug turf. Posse members are known for ritualized killings of members who "rip off" profits on drugs. The killing ritual usually involves the shooting of the individual five times; four to the chest and one to the head. Other ritual violent acts have included the use of laundry irons, chainsaws, hammer and nails, and butcher's knives. Posse members have little regard for public safety or human life. As part of their code, extreme violence is directed at anyone they feel has disrespected them or is in their way. Once in prison, however, their violence is savage but not regular.

The alleged head of the One Order Gang, Andrew 'Bun Man' Hope, was murdered in Spanish Town on February 8, 2006 which sparked a riot the following day.

Political alignment

The Jamaican police tend to ally themselves with the JLP and while the army tends to ally itself with the PNP.

JLP Posses

*Shower Massive
*Trench Town(rema sheme Crew) Massive
*Renkers Posse (defunct)
*One Order Gang
*Precinct 13
*Banton Po
*Untouchables (defunct)
*Montego Bay Posse

PNP Posses

*Spangler Posse
*Jungle Posse
*Gully Posse
*Mountain View Posse
*Clansman gang
*Tel Aviv Posse
*Dog Posse
*Rat Posse (defunct)
*Cuban Posse
*Brown Posse

Unaligned posses

There are more and more major posses which disclaim their political affiliations because of the enormous power they possess on their own. Some posses were so strong from the beginning that they never had a political affiliation to begin with. Heres a partial list of posses that don't have political ties:

*Dunkerk Boys Massive
*Truman Arms Posse
*8 ball Posse
*The Gucci Gang
*98 Posse
*Du Rag Posse
*Much Love Crew
*Lock City Crew
*Kick off Head Crew
*The Gucci Gang
*Hype Crew
*Back 2 Back Gang
*One Don- View, Mili, Warm
*Fatherless crew from Remathis gang has been alined to both PNP and JLP at some time it is said that they have taken part in more than 2000 murders since the 1980s(authorities in the UK have arrested/deported 200+ members of these last three posses in 2003 to 2006 and they have been left in disarray)

Some of these posses have broken away from bigger posses and they are known as Splinter crews or "copycat gangs". They are made up of a good amount of Jamaican born immigrants but most of them are Homeboys (UK, US, Canadian born blacks, whites, Chinese, Spanish, and East Indians). They tend not to be linked much with the actual island of Jamaica itself, but rather with the drug trade in their locality (in either the US, UK or Canada). They still operate like the other Jamaican posses and structure themselves on the three tier system. They tend to be very loosely knit and wildly violent due to their heavy use of A class drugs and/or hunger for money. There are probably thousands of these small indie cells in operation.

More will probably be added to the list as soon as correct info comes in.

List of Kingston Garrison areas

*Trench Town (DownTown)
*Cockburn Pen (Westside)
*Tivoli Gardens (Westside)
*Waterhouse (Far Westside)
*Riverton City (Far Westside)
*Payne Land (Westside)
*Rose Town (Westside
*Southside (SC)
*Denham Town (Westside)
*Wilton Gardens (Rema) DownTown
*Rose Town (DownTown)
*Payne Land (Westside)
*Hunts Bay (Far Westside)
*Washington Gardens (Far Westside)
*Olympic Gardens (westside),
*Dunkirk (Eastside),
*August Town (Mona),
*Papine (Mona),
*Nannyville (Eastside),
*Backbush (Eastside),
*Jaques Road (Eastside),
*Arnett Gardens (Jungle) (DownTown),
*Hannah Town (DownTown),
*Vineyard Town (Eastside),
*Rollington Town (Eastside),
*Allman Town (DownTown),
*Rae Town (SC),
*McGregor Gully (Westside),
*Mountain View
*Shooters Hill
*Harbour View
*Jarett Lane (eastside)
* Tel Aviv

List of Spanish Town garrison areas

*Lime Tree Grove,
*De la vega City,
*Fish Ground,
*Manchester Lane,
*Lakes Pen.
*St Johns Road
* Homestead

External links

* [http://www.segag.org/ganginfo/frjposse.html Connecticut Gang Activities Group article]
* [http://www.nevadaobserver.com/Reading%20Room%20Documents/Organized%20Crime%20in%20New%20Jersey%20-%20Statement%20of%20James%20R.%20Zazzali%20(1988).htm Organized Crime in New Jersey]
* [http://www.mafianj.com/afro/afja.shtml The Mafia in New Jersey - Afro-lineal Organized Crime - Jamaicans]

Further reading

* "Born Fi' Dead : A Journey Through The Jamaican Posse Underworld" by Laurie Gunst
*"Shower Posse: The Most Notorious Jamaican Crime Organization" by Duane Blake

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