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Buxton youth gang behind minibus attacks -ex member

A man who claims that he was once a member of a criminal gang of youths from Buxton says the police know who the leaders are but cannot catch them.

He says he was forced to leave the group, because after the criminals from the February 2002 prison escape were killed, gang members went out of control.

He says he also deserted the gang because of an incident he had with the police.

Asked about the current youth gang's operations, the former informant says two young men are now the leaders.

He says the police at Vigilance station know their names and have been trying to apprehend them. He says the men were primarily targeting minibuses since it is far easier work.

He says several villagers are aware of the two men's activities but would not say anything out of fear. The man points out that the gang is not very large but it has a few small arms and good links with other criminals around the country.

The man, who the police have linked to several armed robberies, murder and several other crimes admits that he once worked for the wanted men who had occupied the village following the jailbreak, but only as a lookout.

After the escapees died he worked with Mervin 'Skittle' Archer (now dead), Randy Joseph, who recently confessed in one section of the media that he was a member of the gang, and a number of other men some of whom were gunned down last year.

The man says he never robbed, killed nor kidnapped anyone, even though many persons would think he did because of his association with these men.

"All I used to do was to ride on the road and when I see police coming I would go back on the line and tell dem boys to look out." He says he has been targeted ever since by the police because of the role he once played.

He added that he left the gang when wanted man, Shawn Brown was killed, since according to him all of the other criminals had begun to do whatever they pleased.

After Brown's death he received no payment for his work and was sometimes threatened by his own men.

Stabroek News was told that the booty from most of the robberies was shared among the gang members. He said the gang was most active leading up to public holidays, Saturday nights and other special occasions when they needed money.

He says all of the gang members were hardened cri-minals and some of the young men were encouraged to join the group because of money.

"But when most ah dem get the money is big sporting on the linetop. Some of dem would even share out."

The man confirmed that during the days of the escapees living in Buxton whenever a big robbery came off several persons would flock the area the next day to collect money that was usually shared to some villagers.

The police have already conducted three raids in the village for this year. But gunmen have still carried out a number of armed robberies on residents in the villages of Vigilance, Strathspey, Non Pariel, Coldingen and Enter-prise.

They also ambushed and opened fire on a 4x4 pick-up with seven men on Brushe Dam, Friendship. Two of the men, Ganga Persaud and Sukram Persaud, were seriously injured during the shooting.