- Christopher Coke
Michael Christopher Coke Born 13 March 1969
Tivoli Gardens, Kingston, Jamaica
Alias(es) Dudus, Paul Christopher Scott, Presi, President, General, Shortman, Omar Clark Status awaiting sentencing Occupation Head of the Shower Posse Parents Lester Lloyd Coke, aka Jim Brown, Father, & Patricia Halliburton, Mother.
Michael Christopher Coke (born 13 March 1969), also known as Dudus, is a Jamaican drug lord and the leader of the Shower Posse gang. He is the son of drug lord Lester Lloyd Coke. Until his hand over to US forces on 24 June 2010, he served as the informal leader of Tivoli Gardens in Western Kingston.
The son of a prominent drug lord, Coke grew up wealthy, going to school with children of the country's political elite. At the age of 22, however, the death of his father and his older brother left him in charge of the Shower Posse. Ruling the gang where his father left off, he became a leader in the community of Tivoli Gardens, distributing money to the area's poor, creating employment and setting up community centers.
In 2009 the United States began requesting his extradition and in May 2010 the Government of Jamaica issued a warrant for Coke's arrest. As a result the city of Kingston was placed under a state of emergency and the police and military launched an operation aimed at taking Coke into custody. More than 70 people, police, civilians and supporters of Coke have died since the government agreed to his extradition. Coke was arrested at a checkpoint on 22 June 2010.
Extradition request and violence
Bruce Golding, the prime minister of Jamaica and leader of the Jamaica Labour Party, initially refused to extradite him, claiming that the United States had used warrantless wiretapping to gather evidence on Coke. This created tension both between the United States and Jamaica, and within Jamaica itself. On 17 May 2010, however, the Government of Jamaica issued a warrant for Coke's arrest, and Senator Tom Tavares-Finson withdrew as Coke's attorney on 18 May 2010 "in order to avoid conflict of interest".
Following this news, Coke's supporters began protesting and arming themselves, and Kingston was placed under a state of emergency after a series of shootings and firebombings within the city. On 24 May 2010, police and military forces launched a large-scale operation aimed at taking Coke into custody. By 27 May, at least 73 people had died in clashes between Jamaican security forces and gunmen in West Kingston. This casualty toll has climbed to a confirmed number of 76 dead victims.
Coke was detained during a routine roadblock while attempting to surrender himself to the United States Embassy in Kingston, possibly while disguised as a woman, wearing a woman's wig and in possession of a second wig with pink hair and a pair of women's sunglasses. The influential evangelical priest Reverend Al Miller was also detained while attempting to facilitate the surrender. Miller told police Coke feared for his life if he surrendered directly to the police, and was asked by Coke to facilitate his surrender. Miller also facilitated the surrender of Coke's brother one month earlier.
Coke voluntarily waived his right to an extradition trial so that he could be taken to the US to be tried. Coke's father died in a mysterious prison fire while awaiting an extradition trial. Awaiting extradition, Coke was held under heavy guard out of concern that his supporters might attack.
Coke indicated that his decision to surrender and face charges was based on a desire to end the violence in Jamaica, saying :
"I take this decision for I now believe it to be in the best interest of my family, the community of western Kingston and in particular the people of Tivoli Gardens and above all Jamaica."
Coke was tried in the U.S. state of New York on charges of drug and weapons trafficking, and initially plead not guilty to charges of running a massive drug gang. However, in August 2011, he pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit assault in aid of racketeering in the United States. He will be sentenced December 8, 2011 and faces a maximum of 23 years in federal prison.
- ^ "Who is 'Dudus'?". The Jamaica Gleaner. 24 May 2010. http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20100524/lead/lead4.html.
- ^ http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20100524/lead/lead4.html
- ^ Extraditing Coke. Al Jazeera. June 30, 2010.
- ^ "Tension in Tivoli as US awaits word on Dudus's extradition". The Jamaica Observer. 3 September 2009. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/158840_Tension-in-Tivoli-as-US-awaits-word-on-Dudus-s-extradition.
- ^ "EDITORIAL - This is not Somalia, we hope". The Jamaica Gleaner. 6 September 2009. http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20090906/cleisure/cleisure1.html.
- ^ "Prime Minister Shifts on Approving an Extradition". The New York Times. Associated Press. 17 May 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/18/world/americas/18briefs-Jamaica.html. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
- ^ "Tavares-Finson withdraws as arrest warrant out for 'Dudus'". The Daily Herald. 19 May 2010. http://www.thedailyherald.com/regional/2-news/3745-tavares-finson-withdraws-as-arrest-warrant-out-for-dudus.html. Retrieved 25 May 2010. [dead link]
- ^ "Jamaica Declares State of Emergency". The New York Times. Reuters. 23 May 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2010/05/23/world/americas/international-us-jamaica-emergency.html?_r=1&hp. Retrieved 25 May 2010. [dead link]
- ^ "Jamaica police storm stronghold of alleged drugs lord". BBC News. 25 May 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/latin_america/10148973.stm. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
- ^ "Toll from crackdown on Jamaica slum climbs to 73" Reuters, 27 May 2010.
- ^ "Alleged Jamaican Drug Kingpin Pleads Not Guilty" CNN, 25 June 2010.
- ^ Caroll, Rory (23 June 2010). "Jamaica appeals for calm after surrender of Christopher 'Dudus' Coke". London: The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/23/christopher-dudus-coke-kingston. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
- ^ "Jamaican kingpin's reign comes to a quiet end". The Associated Press via Google News. 23 June 2010. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gcTK9ZIIzg8wiSiMWaDiN58pBH_AD9GH7E280. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
- ^ Walker, Karyl (23 June 2010). "Al Miller turns himself in". Jamaica Observer. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Al-Miller-turns-himself-in. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
- ^ Jamaica 'drug lord' arrives in US Al Jazeera. Accessed June 25, 2010.
- ^ a b "'Drug lord' pleads not guilty in US.". June 25, 2010.. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/06/2010625183920605809.html. Retrieved June 25, 2010.
- ^ Alleged Jamaican drug lord Coke extradited to US. Voice of America News. 24 June, 2010.
- ^ Dudus: I'm guilty. Jamaica Gleaner. Sept 1 2011. Retrieved Sept 14 2011.
- Indictment of Christopher Coke
- Mary Vallis. "Police raids reveal links to powerful Jamaican Shower Posse gang" The National Post 4 May 2010.
- Denise Balkissoon. "Deadly Shower Posse gang has deep ties to Toronto by The Toronto Star 25 May 2010
- Critics: Rising Jamaican Death Toll Rooted in So-Called "War on Drugs" - video report by Democracy Now!
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