The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
Jamaica suffers from pervasive organized crime by gangs and one of the world’s highest murder rates, which stems largely from gang activities. Jamaica is the Caribbean’s largest source of illicit marijuana destined for the United States as well as a transit point for cocaine en route to North America and Europe. Jamaican lottery scammers defraud U.S. citizens of an estimated $300 million annually. To counter these threats, INL provides assistance under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) to professionalize the Jamaican Constabulary Force (JCF), improve Jamaica’s counternarcotics capacity, and strengthen Jamaica’s criminal justice sector.
To professionalize the JCF, which is under-resourced and vulnerable to corruption, INL supports polygraph screenings, training to improve police investigations, including into gangs, and training on conducting internal investigations into police misconduct. INL works with the JCF, prosecutors, and other stakeholders to improve their ability to investigate and prosecute organized criminal groups involved in transnational crimes, including drug and firearms trafficking and money laundering. INL supports Jamaica’s criminal justice reform by improving the ability of criminal justice actors to prosecute complex cases, reduce case backlog through case management processes and efficiencies, and effectively use plea-bargaining to adjudicate criminal cases.
- INL Polygraph Screening Program Helps Reduce Police Corruption: Since 2016, INL has worked to create JCF capacity to polygraph all new recruits in order to prevent corrupt individuals from joining the JCF. INL trained Jamaican polygraph examiners and assisted the JCF to build their own polygraph unit to polygraph hundreds of JCF recruits every year.
- 18 Lotto Scammers Extradited from Jamaica: Jamaican lotto scammers steal an estimated $300 million from U.S. victims each year. To counter this transnational crime, INL assists officials at Jamaica’s lead agencies for investigating lottery scams to develop skills to investigate financial crimes and prosecute lotto scammers. INL and interagency efforts resulted in the extradition of 18 Jamaicans suspected of lotto scamming since 2017. The extraditions were part of “Operation Hard Copy,” a U.S. interagency effort to arrest suspects wanted under a 2013 federal indictment alleging the theft of at least $5.6 million from 80 elderly U.S. citizens.
- INL Supports Jamaica’s Court System to Improve Case Clearance Rates: In 2019, Jamaica’s courts processed more criminal cases than they received, reducing a significant backlog and helping Jamaica effectively prosecute and convict offenders of both domestic and transnational crime. INL funds an embedded justice advisor to create systems to improve judicial processes, provide training to Jamaican justice officials, and support plea bargaining reforms.