US fugitive nabbed in St Andrew after 15 years on the lam

Thursday, February 16, 2017

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After being on the run for more than 15 years, an American fugitive was on Wednesday arrested in St Andrew.


Keemeit Melaun Hand, who was indicted by a federal grand jury in Atlanta, Georgia, for possession with the intent to distribute more than five kilogrammes of cocaine, was arrested and placed on a bond pending trial.


However, a release from the United States Embassy yesterday said that he failed to appear for a court proceeding and a warrant was issued for his arrest.


The US Embassy said law enforcement officers believed that Hand had fled the United States.


After intelligence suggested that he might have fled to Jamaica, a joint US-Jamaica investigation this month renewed efforts to locate and apprehend him.


The embassy release said investigators analysed suspicious records of one of Hand’s relatives which led them to investigate a residence in St Andrew.


On Wednesday, during surveillance, the release said investigators saw a male arrive at the residence. He produced identification that turned out to be fraudulent and was detained by investigators on the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime (C-TOC) team.


The release stated that during the subsequent interview with C-TOC, the man admitted that he was Keemeit Hand.


The United States Embassy has since saluted the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Fugitive Apprehension Team for apprehending Hand, ending his more than 15-year flight from justice.


"As soon as immigration proceedings can be completed, Mr Hand will be deported back to Georgia by the United States Marshals Service," the embassy said.


The Fugitive Apprehension Team has been credited with the capture of more than 26 international fugitives and was last made honorary US Marshals in 2001 in recognition of their effectiveness.

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