Seven charged for being gang members

A screengrab from a YouTube video by Christopher
A screengrab from a YouTube video by Christopher "Chris Must List" Hughes on gang violence in TT. -

SEVEN PEOPLE, who allegedly appeared in videos posted on social media by Canadian vlogger Christopher "Chris Must List" Hughes which focuses on gang culture and violence, have been charged as suspected gang members.

The police, in a news release on its Facebook page, said it is "committed to intensifying the fight against gang violence and the use of social media platforms by gangs to promote criminal activities."

It said the seven people were held in a recent intelligence-led operation. The suspects were charged with various offences under the Anti-Gang Act No. 4 of 2021.

The statement said Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) for Intelligence and Investigation Suzette Martin led the June 12 operation in the North Central Division that resulted in the arrest of three suspects.

The suspects are: Trae "Tokeii" Belle, 22, of Arouca, who was charged with professing to be a gang member to intimidate other people, promoting a gang, and being a gang member; Nehemiah "Flappy" Joseph, 20, from Tunapuna, is charged with being a gang member; and Marquel "Kel" Farnum, 24, from Tunapuna, who is also charged with being a gang member.

Belle and Joseph were denied bail, while Farnum was granted $75,000 bail. The matters were adjourned to July 5.

On June 18, Martin spearheaded another exercise, which led to the arrest of four people in connection with the Christ Must List May 9, YouTube video.

In the video, the individuals were seen making verbal threats, using physical gestures, and brandishing objects resembling firearms and ammunition. The release says their intention was to intimidate others, promote a gang, and profess gang membership.

Among the four held is Jabari Murrell, 26, from Morvant, he is charged with professing to be a gang member to intimidate other persons, promoting a gang and being a gang member.

The other three men – Christian Collins, 28, Brandon Cyrus, 20 and 44-year-old Codi Alves – are all from Caledonia, Morvant. They are charged with the same offences.

The matter was heard on June 20 and they were all granted $80,000 bail.

As part of their bail, they are required to report to a specified police station once per week. Their next court hearing is June 28.

Martin said, β€œThe TTPS remains committed to maintaining law and order and is resolute in its mission to protect and serve our communities."

She described the operations as the TTPS's dedication to rooting out gang violence and preventing the misuse of social media by criminal elements and said the police service is "committed to maintaining the safety and security of our citizens by acting decisively against those who seek to disrupt public order and threaten the well-being of our society.”

On May 28, Hughes was arrested and accused of sedition for publishing a seditious audiovisual video on YouTube on May 9 under the Anti-Gang Act.

At the time, his lawyer, Criston Williams, questioned the Special Investigations Unit and said they unjustifiably detained Hughes under a false imprisonment scheme where he was brought in to assist with inquiries and not permitted to leave after.

The Anti-Gang Act stipulates that anyone who professes to be a gang leader or member to intimidate others or gain benefits, performs an act to gain gang membership, or is a gang member can face up to 25 years in jail.

Hughes made his first court appearance on June 13, where he pleaded not guilty to the sedition charge. He was granted permission to leave the country until the next hearing.

At his June 13 hearing, Hughes' senior attorney, Pamela Elder, requested the return of his electronic equipment while allowing the police to keep his memory cards.

On June 21, Justice Indrani Cedeno granted Hughes permission to travel, ordering the return of his passport, which must be re-lodged on August 22, a day before his next court appearance.

The sedition case, carries a fine of $3,000 or up to two years in prison. A trial date is expected to be set at this hearing. Hughes, 45, plans to continue filming TT's culture while he remains in the country.


"Seven charged for being gang members"

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