Accused alleges I-Octane suggested he could help with visa

A member of the One Don faction of the Clansman gang was heard in a secret cell phone conversation saying that a dancehall entertainer had suggested that he could help him leave Jamaica if he forked out $250,000 for a visa.

The conversation was allegedly between a gangster known as ‘Crocs’, the alias of defendant Fabian Johnson, and the former gangster now state witness in the gang trial.

In another phone conversation played in the Home Circuit Court on Tuesday, another gangster, ‘City Puss’, detailed how he planned to murder a man at the Spanish Town courthouse in St Catherine.

Additionally, “Crocs” suggested that, in addition to the criminal organisation restarting its nefarious acts, they should consider entering into illegal drugs, specifically cocaine, to restore the finances of the organisation. 

The secret phone conversations form part of crucial evidence being led by the prosecution at the keenly watched gang trial that’s under way in downtown Kingston, where 33 accused individuals, including reputed gang leader Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan, are being tried for a raft of criminal offences.

‘Crocs’ was lamenting the expensive venture of paying for a visa to go overseas, as entertainer I-Octane, whose real name is Byiome Muir, had allegedly suggested. 

“Link all di bwoy Octane pon di ting. Him ah tell mi bout 250. Come in like a joke ting him ah deal with!” Crocs told the witness, who later queried whether the recording artiste was giving him $250,000 or selling him something for that price.

“No pan my ting man; pan book ting man,” Crocs responded. 

“Oh, 250?” asked the witness. 

“Him [entertainer] can book di ting man. Mi want lef fi better, chargie,” Crocs indicated.

Prosecutors then asked the witness to clarify what the conversation was about.

He told the court that before that conversation, Crocs had mentioned to him that he had asked I-Octane to assist him with leaving the island.

The ex-gangster, who alleged he was the second-in-command of the gang, said Crocs also told him that the dancehall star could help him get the visa and form part of his touring entourage. 

Further, he testified that Crocs was also enquiring about some money the entertainer allegedly had for Bryan.

According to the witness, gangsters were to collect the money from the entertainer, an order given by Bryan. It is not clear what the money was for.

“… Crocs was asking him [I-Octane] if he can help him leave the country and I-Octane was telling him ah easy ting dat [as] him can get ah visa mek him come on tour but him responsible for himself,” testified the former gangster.

However, that alleged plan failed as Crocs was eventually arrested. 

It is not the first time that I-Octane’s name has been mentioned at the trial.

In November, the same witness had testified that gangsters would visit the artiste at a recording studio.

The former gangster had then testified that members of the One Don faction of the Clansman gang were close associates of people in the entertainment industry. 

According to him, Crocs, Bryan and himself would allegedly visit a recording studio owned by I-Octane. The witness said they went there to record music.

I-Octane had hit back at media reports mentioning his name at the trial, by refuting suggestions that members of the One Don faction of the Clansman gang accompanied him to recording studios.

Later in November, a detective attached to the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch and one of the investigating officers in the case, said Johnson, when arrested, suggested that he was a musician and an affiliate of I-Octane

The policeman did not go into details about Johnson’s affiliation with the entertainer.

Meanwhile, another secret phone recording played on Tuesday featured Bryan, ‘City Puss’, ‘Crocs’, and the witness.

City Puss was revealing how he wanted to murder a man who received bail after attending court at the Spanish Town courthouse. 

“A Portmore me deh an B call a seh Bones a get bail inna d mawning enuh,” he told the gangsters.

He explained that Bones was charged with his friend’s murder.

“Mi tan up a d back a d courthouse and watch dem a drive weh Bones, ‘cause a mi fren murder him a get bail fah. Half day me tan up deh,” City Puss said.

He alleged that someone he referred to as Clarke “get up inna spirit and tell dem seh gunman out deh fi kill him.” 

Added the gangster: “Dat time Adams have hundred… car backa him, and B seh guh Old Road ’cause Adams hear wah gwaan.”

In another section of the recording, Bryan again stated his desire to return home to continue his criminal acts.

He also told the gangsters that the police had no evidence against him.

“‘Cause dem a just write, dem nah nuh witness, yuh zi me. Me need fi come out deh, dawg,” assured Bryan.

“Yuh need fi deh a road and mek d ting happy again,” said the witness, who was recording the conversation. 

Crocs intervened in the conversation and suggested that it was time for the criminal network to venture into other areas of criminality. 

“We haffi lift up and build up di ting. Dem bwoy deh fi get touch man, dem all deh out deh a sign peace deal. Come in like we need fi load off some coke ting enuh, ‘cause a it di dawg dem a deal wid,” the gangster said.

Asked by a prosecutor to explain what the gangster was suggesting, the witness said other members of the criminal organisation were dealing in cocaine. 

That illegal drug business was also being pursued by other criminals from Denham Town, the witness disclosed.

Bryan and his co-accused are being tried under the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations Act), 2014, better known as the anti-gang legislation, on an indictment with 25 counts.

They have been charged with multiple offences, including being part of a criminal organisation, illegal possession of firearm, illegal possession of ammunition, facilitating conspiracy to murder, and facilitating arson.

The offences were allegedly committed between January 1, 2015, and June 30, 2019, in St Catherine.

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