In this episode retired Sergeant David Starbuck tells us how the Kansas City Jamaican Task Force became known as the Black Hole posse in Jamaica and south Florida. Because of the many Jamaican crack houses in KC, the Task Force developed a streamlined procedure to “fast track” arrests after a search warrant. The Intelligence section develops the target house, the undercover makes a purchase, the drug is field tested for content, the Administrative squad is already typing the probable cause for a search warrant, the Tactical Response Team (SWAT) does a drive-by to make an entry plan, the search warrant is served, the dealer(s) are questioned, the U.S. Attorney was working up the charging documents, the arrest is taken before the U.S. Magistrate, a high bond is set and the arrest is taken off to rural Missouri to a jail. Many times, because they were just cannon fodder to the dealers, they were never heard from again until they were in trial preparation with a public defender. To the other gang members, it appeared as if the arrested person went into a black hole and never came out again.
This tactic worked for the lower level dealers, but the Task Force officers had to identify the leaders. Starbuck tells how they had to become familiar with Jamaican politics because these guys were from Kingston neighborhoods and each neighborhood was affiliated with one of two political parties, either the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People’s National Party (PNP). When questioning the gang members, the officers must know the culture to get any conversation going. They learn that much of the drug money was being used to purchase firearms in the U.S. to take back for use in political disputes.
One evening Starbuck was following a higher level dealer and they ended up at the KC airport. He called his boss, Captain David Barton to ask for guidance. Capt. Barton instructed him to buy a ticket on the same plane if possible and go to Florida. Capt. Barton calls his law enforcement contacts in Florida and Starbuck is met by a Florida Drug Task Force surveillance crew. He points out the individual and they follow him to a house. Starbuck, with only the clothes on his back and his handgun, stays in Florida for a couple of weeks.