Mon | May 25, 2020

‘Saddam’ conviction to put lights out on Night Time gang

Published:Wednesday | August 7, 2019 | 12:21 AM

Police personnel from the St Catherine South Division are upbeat after what has been described as “a thorough forensic investigation” led to the recent conviction of Leonard Airey, also called ‘Saddam’, a reputed ­member of the infamous ‘Night Time’ gang, which has been plaguing the Windsor Heights and Central Village areas of St Catherine for more than six years, under the alleged leadership of Stokely Collins.

Appearing in the Corporate Area Gun Court on July 23, ‘Saddam’ was found guilty of shooting with intent and illegal possession of firearm from a September 30, 2016, shoot-out involving St Catherine South Police Special Squad members, Detective Sergeant Cammendo Thoms and District Constable Jason McKay.

The case was heard by High Court judge Leighton Pusey, and conducted over two days, evidence led by Crown Counsel Tamara Merchant. Evidence given by the lawmen detailed the recovery of a sub-machine gun fired at McKay and Thoms, who were conducting intelligence gathering in an armoured unit. A round fired into the vehicle was matched with the weapon recovered on the scene.

Investigating officer, Divisional Detective Inspector Homer Morgan, told The Gleaner ‘Saddam’ is no “ordinary member” of the Night Time gang, whose reputed leader is Stokely Collins, a son of ‘One-Foot George’, who had ruled the Central Village area with an iron hand in the 1970s.

Police sources said leadership was passed to his son, Stokely, also called ‘Peppa’, who is said to reside overseas, but has maintained control of Windsor Heights, through the likes of Airey, who is to be sentenced on September 19.

POWERFUL MEMBER

“The Night Time gang is headed by Collins but Airey is a top-tier member, a real top-tier. He sits right at the top. At the time of arresting him, he was working at a nearby business as a ‘liaison’, which is really a strongarm from the community, who wields a lot of power,” Morgan explained.

“He is a top member and I am sure it will put a dent in the operation of the gang. These ‘liaison’ men from the community actually work at some of these businesses. What they are able to do is control the people from the community.

“Money passes through their hands and goes into the communities. Sometimes they are the ones who even pay the workers on a site. They get the workers’ monies. It doesn’t take a soft man to do that,” said the detective inspector.

From as far back as January 2013, St Catherine South Police’s Superintendent Collin Pinnock had said the gang, led by Collins, who was named as one of Area Five’s most-wanted men, was actively extorting businesses in Windsor Heights and Central Village, St Catherine.