Jamaican Dancehall artist Squash has been detained by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Florida, DancehallMag has confirmed.
Online records from the agency reveal that as of Monday night (May 22), Squash, whose real name is Andrae Maurice Whittaker, was being held at the Krome North Service Processing Center, an ICE detention facility in Miami.
The Ohh Lala La artist’s detention comes after the expiration of Title 42, the Trump-era rules that, among other things, had restricted the number of people who could be detained in ICE detention facilities like Krome.
It also comes after Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a sweeping immigration bill, which he said was crucial to “ensuring the Florida taxpayers are not footing the bill for illegal immigration,” according to CNN. But, the new measures will not go into effect until July.
This isn’t Squash’s first stint in a detention facility.
In August 2018, he was detained in Jamaica under a State Of Emergency (SOE) sweep in St. James due to increased crime and violence in the parish. He spent five months in custody without charge, before being released in January 2019, one day before the SOE was due to expire.
He left Jamaica and performed in the United States for the first time in September 2019.
Speaking with Onstage host Winford Williams in Florida last July, Squash expressed his love for Jamaica but spoke out about his discomfort with “the system”, and what he describes as “corruption” within his own circle as contributing factors for leaving the island.
“Mi cyah tek the hold down in Jamaica and corruption in my little circle, Jamaica small bad enuh, the world big and Jamaica have too much corruption in one little environment and mi cyah deal wid it,” he explained.
“You see me now, me is not a violent man, people out there might see 6ixx boss and have me as violent, but I am a jovial person, me loving and kind, fun, mi like happiness, me nuh like sadness,” Squash told Williams.
In November 2022, an associate of Squash, Jahreme ‘JMan’ Shelton, was slapped with two charges of first-degree murder in the United States. “Jahreme Shelton is a Jamaican national citizen who entered the country illegally but is on parole status until he sees a judge about his status,” his arrest affidavit said.
Investigators linked Shelton to the double murder, allegedly matching his blood to three samples from the crime scene.
Shelton was known as a principal of the violent Buss Head Gang.
The Jamaica Gleaner reported that, on May 26, 2022, Shelton was one of two persons who survived a drive-by shooting in Jamaica at a birthday party along Marl Road. However, three people, including Shelton’s girlfriend Toniann Reid, aka ‘Too Fly’, of Jarrett Terrace, died.
In June 2022, Dancehall producer Linval Thompson Jr, more popularly known as Shab Don, was one of two persons charged in relation to the drive-by shooting. He remains on remand.
Meanwhile, according to Shelton’s arrest affidavit, more arrests may be looming. An anonymous tip stated that the double murder was gang-related and that men with the aliases “Squashman, J-Man and Freeman who call themselves the G City gang,” were involved.
In late October 2022, Squash denied reports that he was involved in gang activity. “Uno low off ah mi name bad man,” Squash said. “Uno just leave mi alone bredda, make man live, low man make man survive bredda.”
“Stop mix up man in ah no violence and crime business bredda. Music man ah do ova yah suh bredda, strictly music man do ova yah suh band man!” he continued.
As the leader of the Montego Bay-based 6ixx clan, Squash’s most popular songs included Beat Dem Bad with Vybz Kartel, Ohh Lala La, Rate Who Rate You, Trending, Sweepstake Life, Ambala, and Scotch & Soda.