Tommy Lee Sparta has been transferred to the Freeport police lockup in Montego Bay.
The Dancehall artist, whose real name is Leroy Russell, is being held in the parish of St James under the emergency powers of the State of Public Emergency, a move that his lawyer believes is a clear violation of his constitutional rights.
The “Watch Dem” deejay was detained early Sunday morning in Manor Park, St Andrew at an ATM by masked police officers shortly after he had left the finals of the popular Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall competition where he performed.
Hours later, he was transported to St James. The reason for the transfer is unclear.
His lawyer, Ernest Smith, has contended that the detention in St James is unlawful because his client has been living in Kingston for the past four years.
Tommy Lee Sparta moved to Kingston almost five years ago because he was constantly being harassed by the police in St James, according to Smith.
“He left Montego Bay years ago on the basis that he was being accused falsely for certain things that had been happening in Montego Bay,” Smith told reporters.
“It is unconstitutional and in every way an abuse of power to take a citizen from a zone where there is no state of emergency to a zone where there is a state of emergency and say that he is now being detained under the emergency powers in that area,” Smith added.
However, Assistant Commissioner of Police Ealan Powell says it is for the police to prove that detained artiste has been residing in St James.
“Our investigation will either prove or disprove that,” Powell told reporters.
Powell, who is the police commander in charge of the State of Public Emergency in St James, has described Tommy Lee as a “serious gangster.”
“Tommy Lee, as far as we know, is a serious gangster… Somebody who intelligence report indicate, is behind a lot the criminal activities in St James,” Powell said.
He also dismissed assertions that the police transferred Tommy Lee Sparta to Montego Bay and detained him under the state of emergency to avoid having to release him.
“You can be held anywhere under the state of emergency. If we believe that you flee the state of emergency we can hold you anywhere,” he explained.
Powell told reporters that the investigators will respect the entertainer’s human and constitutional rights, but will not relent in their investigations.
“If we have intelligence that he is involved in criminal activities we are going to seek to interview him and to carry out investigations around him irrespective of who he is,” Powell insisted.
He said Tommy Lee is to be questioned by detectives shortly.
Meanwhile, the case involving Tommy Lee Sparta is to be heard for the second time in the St James Parish Court next week Tuesday.
Parish Court Judge Sandria Wong Small gave the police seven days to justify the continued detention of Russell when the matter was heard in the St James Parish Court.
The order by the judge follows a habeas corpus application made by the defence team Tuesday afternoon.
The writ of habeas corpus was filed on the deejay’s behalf by attorneys Tom Tavares-Finson and Martin.
Tommy Lee Sparta has had run-ins with the law in the past. He is already facing lottery scam charges. He was charged in 2014 under the Law Reform Fraudulent Transaction Special Provisions Act. He is expected to return to court to answer these charges in July.
Last year, the police said that he was wanted for questioning in relation to ongoing violence in sections of St James.
He was also listed last year by detectives from the Kingston Eastern division as a person of interest in relation to a shooting in the capital city.
Tommy Lee Sparta is known for songs such as “Uncle Demon,” “Some Bwoy,” “Dismiss,” and “Buss A Blank,” as well as recent ‘diss’ songs aimed at rival artiste, Jahmeil, with whom he has been feuding.