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Soldier’s death forces crackdown on Jamaica gang

KINGSTON — Several alleged members of the Klansman gang, one of the Caribbean’s deadliest criminal networks, have been taken into custody in relation to the death of Jamaica Defence Force private Leachim Whyte.

Whyte’s decomposing body was found buried in a shallow grave in the community of New Nursery, located near the Twickenham Park Police Academy in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, on Christmas Day. He had been missing since December 17.

“It is said to have happened in the Klans domain, which is in that area, and yes we would have taken in a number of persons,” confirmed Senior Superintendent of Police Anthony Castell, head of the St. Catherine North Police Division.

Castell could not speak to the number of people detained, but said that they will undergo a series of interrogation before any of them can be charged for the murder.

“They wouldn’t be charged so quickly. They would have to go through identification parades, Q and A [question-and-answer] sessions, and their lawyers would have to be present,” he explained.

Although the JDF has accepted that the body is that of the missing soldier, Castell was slow to concur. He noted that only after a post-mortem is conducted can the police speak with certainty to the body’s identity.

Yesterday, Captain Basil Jarrett, head of the Civil Military Cooperation and Media Affairs Unit at the JDF, said the body was found with its arms and legs bound. He said Whyte’s father was inconsolable at the scene.

“It took us about an entire day to complete the exhumation because the search team took painstaking care in getting the body out; they wanted to preserve the crime scene as much as possible,” Jarrett said yesterday.

He could not speak to the cause of death but said that the JDF has launched an internal investigation into the incident.

Whyte had been a soldier for about six months, he said. (Observer)

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