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Jamaican artists are on cops radar

ARRESTED: Vybz Kartel

WITH DANCEHALL artiste Vybz Kartel arrested and charged and his properties raided by police, it has been disclosed that he is just one of several entertainers who have popped up on the police's radar and could be arrested soon.

On Thursday night, the artiste, whose real name is Adijah Palmer, was charged with illegal possession of ganja after the flying squad conducted a major operation at a small hotel in Kingston.

Vybz Kartel was detained, along with a woman and two men, who have also been charged with the same crime.

Yesterday, the police investigators also raided two St Andrew homes believed to be owned by the popular entertainer. Escorted by heavily armed members of the security forces, the deejay was also taken to at least one other premises in St Catherine where it was searched.

Shortly after midday, police and soldiers had descended on the quiet upper St Andrew community of Norbrook, before moving to another house in the Havendale area where they also conducted raids.

Handcuffed and wearing a grey t-shirt and jeans, the popular entertainer sat quietly as members of the security forces searched both premises. Several items were removed from the Havendale home, which was partly destroyed by fire several weeks ago.

Sources claim that the raids are part of a widening criminal probe against Palmer. However, Police Inspector Steve Brown, who was part of the operations, declined to discuss the operation and refused to say what investigators were searching for.

Meanwhile, head of the Criminal Investigation Branch, Assistant Commissioner Ealan Powell says this is one of many arrests that will be made.

"We have an interest in at least 10 other members of the entertainment industry, some of whom have been implicated in a number of murders and shootings," ACP Powell revealed.

While not disclosing the identity of the other entertainers being sought, the senior officer stressed that these are persons with strong connections to major criminal gangs in the island. He also disclosed that some of these entertainers have been implicated in gun running.

The Star understands that the police are expected to give more details at a press conference, tentatively scheduled for next week.

This is not Vybz Kartel's first run-in with the law. Last year July, he spent two weeks in jail after he was named as a person of interest by the Jamaica Constabulary Force. In 2008, he was jailed for days in connection with the murder of Christopher 'Nunu Puss' Miller, whose bullet-riddled body was found on August 31, 2008 on Goshen Road in Bernard Lodge, St Catherine.

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