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Jamaican Posses (red - known, pink - probable)

The Jamaican Posses are Afro-Caribbean street gangs and crime syndicates of Jamaican origin.


The Jamaican Posses are a loose network of street gangs and criminal syndicates who through persistence and unrestrained violence have established their dominance over the BTL and drug trade in the Caribbean League. They have ties to the Ghost Cartels of South America, Portugal, and Africa.[1] In the United Kingdom, a coalition of Jamaican gangs called "Yardies" have spread across the country and to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.[2]


Fifth World[]

After Britain granted Jamaica it's independence in 1962, it's politicians found themselves with a country that had vast inequality. In which the wealthy descended from the plantation owners, while the poor descended mostly from the slaves. Many of Jamaica's poor ended in the the ghettos of the cities, particularly Kingston. Which were growing and usually lacked paved streets and basic sanitation. In these ghettos, area leaders (strongmen) emerged and by the 1970s they would come to be known as "dons".

The dons were financed by the two major political parties, the Cuban-backed People's National Party (PNP) and the CIA-backed Jamaica Labor Party (JLP). The dons were tasked with delivering votes to the parties in exchange for development projects and money. Over time the dons' territories would come to be called garrisons as they were defended like forts, with entrances blockaded. It was rumored that some of the posse members received paramilitary training from Cuba or the United States.

Dons from PNP garrisons warred with their rival JLP garrisons, resulting in bloody political violence. At the peak of the political strife, 889 were murdered during the 1980 election year. During this political strife, many of Jamaica's criminals had gone to the United States and established drug trafficking networks that smuggled and distributed cocaine and marijuana into the United States, and weapons back to Jamaica. They were also involved in robberies, kidnappings, home invasions, and people smuggling.

The first posses operating in the United States were the Dunkirk Boys and the Untouchables, both of them in New York City. Sometime in 1980, JLP-affiliated traffickers from several garrisons established the Shower Posse in New York City. To stand out from the gangs that already existed in the United States, make those on the street respect them and earn a reputation they attack their enemies with a shower of bullets. Their rivals from the PNP-affiliated garrisons established the Spangler Posse.

The Shower Posse had its stronghold in Miami and its operations expanded across the United States, including in the cities of Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Chicago, playing a role in the spread of crack. By the early 1990s it had extended its operations to Toronto, Canada. The organization had an estimated 5,000 members in the United States and was considered the largest and best organized of the posses. It's main rival the Spangler Posse was the second largest, though some estimated it also had 5,000 members.

A number of other posses had operations in more than one state, and sometimes more than one region within the United States. The Tel Aviv Posse had operations in Miami, NY City, and Washington DC. The Bantam Posse had operations in NY City, Baltimore, Miami, and Washington DC. The Jungle Posse had operations in Miami, Los Angeles, NY City, Boston, and Dallas. The Montego Bay Posse had operations in Boston, Atlanta, Houston, Cleveland, NY City, Miami, Philadelphia, Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. The Cuban Posse had operations in Kansas City, NY City, Miami, and Philadelphia. The Waterhouse Posse had operations in NY City, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, Philadelphia, Boston, Miami, Kansas City, St. Louis, Houston, and Los Angeles.

In 1991, it was estimated that there were 40 posses operating in the United States with a combined membership of 20,000. By the mid 1990s due to law enforcement, the operations of the Shower and Spangler posse had been significantly reduced in New York and Florida. Taking advantage of that were three posses from NY City; the Dunkirk Boys of Queens (with 2,000 members), the Jungle Posse of Brooklyn (with 2,500 members), and Samokan Posse of Brooklyn (with 1,000 members). It was estimated that during the crack era of the 1980s-90s the Jamaican posses were responsible for 4,000 murders in the United States of which between 1,000 to 1,400 were attributed to the Shower Posse.

Sixth World[]

When the Sixth World began, the Mafia took over most of the Afro-Caribbean syndicates.[3] This would have included the Jamaican posses which were active in the late 20th century not only in the Caribbean League but in much of the United States (especially on the East Coast) and in the United Kingdom.

By the early 2060s, the Jamaican Posses were smuggling BTL "moodies" that were produced by local manufacturers (e.g. pirate lords) in the Caribbean thereby moving into the regional BTL trade which had previously been dominated by the Batista Family. The Jamaicans tracked down and burned alive the local Batistas, hanging them on their boss's yard like human torches.[4]

Working with the Ghost Cartels, the Jamaican Posses compete against the David Cartel in the drug markets. Kingston the capital of Jamaica is a jumble of territories controlled by the various Jamaican posses. Where they run various rackets including drug sales, theft, and prostitution.[5] In the United Kingdom, a Jamaican posse has evolved into a super gang called the Yardies and spread across the Atlantic Ocean to the UCAS.[6]

Jamaican Underworld[]


The posses evolved from street gangs. Because of the gangs' fondness for American Western movies they called themselves "posses", and the fact that the word implied the use of violence to protect their neighborhoods from rival gangs and to enforce their will. Due to the need of the members to prove their manhood and to establish am aggressive reputation within their neighborhood, the use of violence was important to the posses. If someone disrespected them or got in their way, their code dictated that they were to use extreme violence in retaliation. They had little to no regard for innocent life and were known for drive-by shootings, gun battles in public with rivals, and getting into shootouts with police. If someone stole from the posse, they would kill the thief in a ritualized manner.

Due to the posses not being a criminal brotherhood or a secret society, members did not have the same level of loyalty to their respective posse as would a member of the Sicilian Mafia, the Japanese Yakuza, or the Chinese Triads who had been indoctrinated. Since they were not based on clans or families (except for a few), they likewise lacked the blood ties of members of one of the criminal families in the Mexican mafia. In most of the Jamaican posses, extreme violence and the threat of using such violence on a member was used to keep members in line and deter betrayal. When the U.S. government rounded up members in one of its anti-Jamaican posse operations, they discovered that posse members had little to no loyalty to the posse and were often willing to flip in exchange for a reduction in their sentence.


The posses evolved from street gangs. As time went on the posses that were aligned with the political parties merged to increase their influence within their allied political party. The posses became structured with a leader, in some posses known as the general. It's substructure was divided into a network of cells. Each of these cells varied in size, depending on the size of the neighborhood from which it originated. The cell leaders were sometimes known as lieutenants or captains.

Sometime between the mid-1980s and late-1980s, some of the posses established a three-tiered structure to their organization. The leader at the top received payments that flowed upward but was no longer involved directly in the smuggling or distribution of drugs. In the second tier, the cell leaders directed the transportation of guns, drugs, and money between the leader and the street level operatives. The street level operatives were the third tier whom were mostly illegal aliens whom had been smuggled into the United States and whose job was to work in the drug houses. The largest and best organized group, the Shower Posse had 1000s of members. It was led by two men (Lester Coke in Jamaica and Vivian Blake in the United States) and under them were the captains, lieutenants, and soldiers. While a few posses had a multi-layered structure, most of the posses were far less structured and some of those were family-based associations.

Approximately 70% of the members were illegals, all of them in the lower ranks. The leadership in the United States consisted of those whom had been in the country since the 1970s and had become legalized. Most of the members were in their early to mid 20s. The posses also recruited second-generation Jamaicans, especially from New York City. To make it harder for the police to identify them, soon many posse members soon cut off their dreadlocks and kept their hair short. Only Jamaicans were allowed to join the posses, but American black females were recruited for jobs such as renting safe houses or vehicles. Non-Jamaican black females and white prostitutes were used as couriers.

Drug Trafficking and Sales[]

The Jamaican posses of the late 20th century were involved in the smuggling of marijuana and cocaine into the United States. During the 1980s-90s, the posses would store their marijuana and cocaine supplies at the "stash houses". Every day, from the stash houses they would take small amounts of cocaine for street drug sales from the "gatehouses". By using this system the posses minimized the impact of police raids on the operation as a whole.

Gatehouses (aka, crack houses) were usually vacant or abandoned buildings. Which were located in secluded neighborhoods to make it easier to keep a low profile and monitor police activity. They were usually at least a block from the next gatehouse. The gatehouses would have their wooden doors replaced by metal ones, had closed-circuit camera security, and pit terrier guard dogs. Drugs were sold to customers through a small opening in a door and the one who would give them the drugs would wear a glove to prevent them identifying the dealer as being black.

Sometimes the posses would buy whole city blocks to provide the gatehouse with an additional layer of security. In major cities, a Jamaican posse could easily have dozens of crack houses. In 1988, a posse that had 50 crack houses in a city would be able to make up to $9 million a month. Posse members favored Glock handguns, Tec-9 and Ingram MAC-10 machine pistols, Uzi sub-machine guns, and AR-15 semi-auto rifles. Jamaican posses often controlled


The Era of the Jamaican Posse has come and gone. In the 1980s-90s they dominated the crack trade on the American East Coast and had strongholds throughout the American South and Midwest with their tentacles reaching Denver and Los Angeles. Posses also operated in several of the provinces of Canada with strongholds in Montreal and Toronto. The decline of the flashy and incredibly violent Jamaican posses began in the 1990s and more or less concluded in the 1st decade of the 20th century. In the American underworld, the Jamaican ethnic mafia experienced the fastest rise, the shortest life, and the quickest fall.

They are still a power in Jamaica and in the city of London, but they are more or less no longer a major factor in the United States or Canada. They have all either been eliminated by law enforcement or they have devolved into local street gangs. Jamaican drug trafficking organizations still exist but they are no longer organized as posses or crews, are far less violent and flashy, and are nowhere near the top of the food chain in either the underworld or the drug trafficking world. In the United States, these Jamaican drug traffickers are no longer concerned with controlling geographical territory or dominating a drug market, just making deals and earning cash.

Major Posses[]


  1. Shadows of Latin America p.62
  2. o33031982Vice p.129-130
  3. o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.28
  4. Shadows of Latin America p.62
  5. o34954845Sixth World Almanac p.170
  6. o33031982Vice p.129-130



Jamaican Posses (Research)[]

  • New York Times: Jamaican Gangs
  • Wikipedia: Shower Posse
  • Los Angeles Times: Jamaican Posses
  • Lords of the Mafia, Episode 9, Jamaican/Caribbean Gangs [1]
  • BET: American Gangster, Season 3 Episode 7, Shower Posse [2]
  • Born Fi' Dead: A Journey Through The Jamaican Posse Underworld by Laurie Gunst


  • Shower Posse: The Most Notorious Jamaican Crime Organization by Duane Blake [4]

Jamaican Posses in the Media[]