What is Major Organised Crime?
Major Organised Crime refers to a group of individuals, either local, national or international, that engage in criminal enterprises for profit. MOCA is dedicated to eliminating organised crime groups that pose a significant threat to the economic security of Jamaica. The Agency draws on the experience and expertise of well trained and proficient agents with a high standard of professionalism and integrity. Our use of sustained and coordinated intelligence and techniques in criminal investigations, coupled with our partnerships with other intelligence and law enforcement organizations, MOCA has achieved regional and international renown.
Major Organised Crime
Major Organised Criminal groups have different motivations, (political, financial, etc), but they are usually formed in one of two ways.
The first is within a family, where criminals operate based on the hierarchies of the related families, training of family members or where there is a reliance on tradition and culture.
The second is through a ‘gang.’ These members are often recruited through members’ involvement in crime as youngsters and the connections made in the correctional facilities. Members often join a gang for protection or the need to belong, typically due to their lack of a support system in their homes. Some gangs have a loose hierarchy, especially when dealing with drugs, firearms or sex trafficking.
Transnational Organised Crime
Transnational Organised Crime (TOC) groups are self-perpetuating associations of individuals who operate, wholly or in part, by illegal means and irrespective of geography. They constantly seek to obtain power, influence, and monetary gains. There is no single structure under which TOC groups function as they vary from hierarchies to clans, networks, and cells, and may evolve into other structures. These groups are typically insular and protect their activities through corruption, violence, international commerce, complex communication mechanisms, and an organisational structure exploiting national boundaries.
TOC groups’ primary goal is economic gain as they engage in a multiplicity of schemes to generate profit. Crimes such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering, firearms trafficking, illegal gambling, extortion, counterfeit goods, drugs for guns’ trade, lottery scam, and cyber-crime are the main operation of TOC enterprises.
The vast sums of money involved can compromise legitimate economies and have a direct impact on governments through the corruption of public officials. These crimes pose a significant and growing threat to national and international security with direct implications for public safety, public health, and economic stability. Major organised crime jeopardises the security of our borders, and can endanger our health and safety through the importation of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and food. They seek to corrupt officials and penetrate public and private entities that are vital to national security and stability of our economy.
Criminal enterprise/ organisation means a group, however, organised, that is composed of three or more persons inside or outside of Jamaica. It can be of transnational, national, or local groupings whose main purpose or main activity is to facilitate or engage in illegal activity that, if committed, would likely result in the direct or indirect receipt of a material benefit, financial or otherwise, by the group or by any of the persons who constitute the group.
The Suppression of Criminal Organisations Act, 2014 defines a criminal organisation as “any gang, group, alliance, network, combination or other arrangement among three or more persons (whether formally or informally affiliated or organised or whether or not operating through one or more bodies corporate or other associations)
(a) that has as one of its purposes the commission of one or more serious offences; or
(b) in relation to which the persons who are a part thereof or participate therein (individually, jointly or collectively) issue threats or engage in violent conduct to-
(i) create fear, intimidate, exert power or gain influence in communities, or over other persons, in furtherance of unlawful activity; or
(ii) obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefits
These organisations often engage in multiple criminal activities and have extensive supporting networks and influences. The terms Organised Crime and Criminal Enterprise are similar and often used synonymously. However, The Suppression of Criminal Organizations Act, 2014 and other legislation specifically define the elements of a Criminal Enterprise and Organised Crime group that need to be proven in order to convict individuals or groups of individuals under those legislations.
Jamaica's geographic location in the Western Caribbean and its difficult-to-patrol coastline, high volume of tourist travel, and status as a major containerized cargo trans-shipment hub are major contributor’s to the islands status as a drug trafficking hub. Jamaica is the largest Caribbean source country of marijuana and a significant transit point for cocaine trafficked from South America to North America and other international markets.
Drug trafficking and money laundering are two intricately connected transnational organised crimes affecting Jamaica. Traffickers smuggle illegal drugs to foreign destinations and receive substantial illicit profits which are then laundered into legitimate businesses to hide its tainted origins from law enforcers. They also export Jamaican-grown marijuana to other Caribbean countries in return for illicit firearms and other contraband. Jamaica's attempts to control the trafficking of drugs face significant challenges from corruption, organised crime and gang activity. This situation continues to be a problem to Jamaica as it affects the transnational relationships between Jamaica and its trading partners and undermines the authority of the state.
MOCA partners with local agencies such as the Jamaica Constabulary Force and Jamaica Defence Force, as well as international agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations, to bring the best intelligence assets, investigators and prosecutors to Jamaica’s anti-narcotics activities.
Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion such as abduction, fraud, deception or the abuse of power.
Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide – including here in Jamaica. Victims can be of any age, race, gender, or nationality. Traffickers use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations. Language barriers, fear of their traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement frequently keep victims from seeking help, making human trafficking a difficult crime to detect, investigate and prosecute.
MOCA has a mandate to investigate instances of Human Trafficking, and partners with local agencies such as the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), Jamaica Customs, and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), as well as international bodies such as the United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in executing these roles.