Senior cop labels Tommy Lee a 'serious gangster'

May 22, 2018
Ealan Powell
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Assistant Commissioner of Police Ealan Powell has labelled popular entertainer 'Tommy Lee Sparta' a "serious gangster."

The assertion came as Powell confirmed that the dancehall star is being detained in Montego Bay, St James under the state of public emergency.

"Tommy Lee, as far as we know, is a serious gangster ... somebody who intelligence reports indicate is behind a lot the criminal activities in St James," Powell said.

Tommy Lee, whose given name is Leroy Russell, was taken into custody by the police in St Andrew, early Sunday morning.

His attorney, Ernest Smith, has accused the police of unfairly targeted him, pointing out that he has been locked up about five times in the past two years.

Smith is currently representing the 'Uncle Demon' artiste in a lottery scamming matter before the Home Circuit Court.

In an interview with The STAR last year, Tommy Lee said he "just wish dem woulda free me up right now" so that he can run the place again.

"A run me a come run di place when me court done cause me know what fi, do but me caah do exactly wah fi do when me tie up suh inna di system," he said, adding that the system can "break yuh down to pieces".

The artiste has, on many occasions, been named by police as a person of interest in criminal investigations but has never been convicted.

In 2016, Tommy Lee has was named a person of interest by the Kingston Eastern police after a shooting on Saunders Avenue.

Last year the St James police also named him a person of interest in events which took place in Flanker, Montego Bay. There were no legal proceedings arising from those actions.

Before that, the police banned Tommy Lee from performing on Reggae Sumfest 2015.

Meanwhile, ACP Powell dismissed assertions that the police transferred Tommy Lee to Montego Bay and detained him under the state of emergency to avoid having to release him.

"You can be held anywhere under the state of emergency. If we believe that you flee the state of emergency we can hold you anywhere," he argued.

According to Powell, police investigators will respect the entertainer's human and constitutional rights, but will not relent in their investigations.

"If we have intelligence that he is involved in criminal activities we are going to seek to interview him and to carry out investigations around him irrespective of who he is," he insisted.

He said Tommy Lee is to be questioned by detectives shortly.

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