National Geographic Society

  • Connect:

Jamaican Gangs, Guns and Ganja

Jamaican Gangs, Guns and Ganja facts

Jamaican Gangs, Guns and Ganja facts (View larger version)


  • Jamaica has a population of 2.9 million people.

  • Kingston and St. Andrews Parish has a population of 666,041 people.

  • With nearly 1,124 murders, 1,322 shootings, 637 carnal abuses and 738 rapes in 2011, and with an estimated population of 2.7 million, Jamaica has among the highest per capita homicide rates in the world.

  • Jamaica's geographical location makes it a strategic mid-point for cocaine smugglers transporting from South America to the US.

  • Marijuana is produced and exported most from Jamaica than in any other country in the Caribbean.

  • According the NCDA National School Survey of 2006, the lowest age when each of the following substances consumed are: cigarettes at 11.78, alcohol at 11.75, and marijuana12.9 years old.

  • Alcohol in 8th grade is consumed by 59% of students surveyed, while in 11th grade consumed by 77.6% of students surveyed according to the NCDA National School Survey 2006.

  • In April 2013 Montego Bay police seized cocaine weighing approximately 66 kilograms, with an estimated street value of $254 million.

  • The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) has found that in the past year, the number of police fatal shootings has risen by 15 percent.

  • Leading the drug trafficking business in Kingston, is a hierarchy of dons that hold power in territorial sects called garrisons. According to Damion Blake, an instructor and PhD student at Virginia Tech State University, "Mega-dons" are at the top of the hierarchy protecting the community with the wealth acquired from, extortion, robberies, drugs and gun trafficking.

Matthew Davis
Matthew Davis

I was able to help out with the Detroit episode and had a great time with the crew showing them around Detroit but have been to Jamaica as well years ago a few times. 

We hired a guide and two dirtbikes and toured all around the coast of the island. When we were about to ride through Kingston our guide stopped us and told us that nomatter what we will not be stopping anywhere, not for a flat tire, not for a stop light we stop for nothing.He was scared of riding through Kingston with two white boys. Guess I cant blame him, and we did it at night, not sure if that was better or worse. We made it safely through and stayed at his moms outside of Kingston where his 6 kids from different mothers all lived lol. I cannot say I love Jamaica, especially the tourist areas. I always felt as if they were smiling through their teeth at me trying to hustle something. 

Cant wait till the Thailand episopd is made,hopefully anyway.