Christopher “Dudus” Coke has been sentenced after being found guilty in a Manhattan court. 23 years in prison, exactly what the prosecutors in the case were asking for. See the story below.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category
Posted by shadmia on June 9, 2012
Posted by shadmia on September 4, 2011
Jamaica, the country that brought the world such sportsmen like Usain Bolt and entertainers like Bob Marley also has a dark side. That dark side is represented by Christopher “Dudus” Coke.
In August 2009 the U.S. issued an international warrant seeking the extradition of Christopher Coke from Jamaica to face gun and drugs charges in the U.S. He was accused of being the leader and mastermind behind the notorious “Shower Posse” gang which was involved in the international trafficking of drugs and firearms.
For a long time the government of Jamaica resisted the request but finally, bowing to domestic and international political pressure, moved to arrest Mr. Coke in his neighborhood known as Tivoli Gardens.
The residents of Tivoli Gardens were fiercely loyal to Mr. Coke and when the police and army moved in to execute the warrant they met stiff resistance. The residents erected barricades and engaged in gun battles. The confrontation resulted in the deaths of more than 70 people and substantial property damage as the armed forces went door to door in search of Mr. Coke. In the end Christopher Dudus Coke was captured.
In June 2010 he was extradited to the U.S. to face the charges.
On Sept. 2, 2011 Dudus pleaded guilty in a New York court to assault and racketeering charges bringing to an end a two-year international drama between Jamaica and the United States.
Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 8, 2011 and Christopher “Dudus” Coke faces a possible 23 years in prison.
As noted in the Jamaican Gleaner, the capture and eventual incarceration of Coke was hampered by political considerations. He was not only generous to the people of his neighborhood, Tivoli Gardens, but could be depended on by the political party, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to deliver the votes at election time. In fact Tivoli Gardens is the seat in Parliament of the current Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, who was reluctant to issue the arrest warrant in the first place.
Christopher Coke personifies the kind of threat to the security and democracy of small and vulnerable countries like Jamaica. Control of large amounts of resources, illicitly derived notwithstanding, endow gangsters with the capacity to corrupt the political process and to control many levers of the State by proxy. Indeed, Coke’s activities – and the criminal machinations of others – were an open secret in Jamaica.
The newspaper also noted that perhaps Jamaica owes a debt of gratitude to the U.S. for pursuing Christopher Coke, since murders and serious crime have plummeted since his capture and it would have been difficult, if not impossible, for the Jamaican authorities to have him tried and convicted locally.
However, given Coke’s political and community connections, underpinned by his ability to distribute largesse and corral votes, it is likely that he would not have been arrested and prosecuted in Jamaica. Such an eventuality would have been made more difficult by the political fault lines in Jamaica.
Christopher Dudus Coke had previously been charged with offenses that carried a sentence of life in prison. When prosecutors approached him and said that they also had evidence that he had ordered the deaths of at least five persons and a judge ruled that tapes of bugged phone calls in which he discusses smuggling marijuana, cocaine and weapons could be played in court, Coke decided to plead guilty to the lesser charges of Conspiracy to racketeer and Conspiracy to commit assault in aid of racketeering.
Coke stood up in court and said:
“I ordered the purchase of firearms and the importation of those firearms into Jamaica in furtherance of this conspiracy”
When asked about his plea Coke said:
“I’m pleading guilty because I am guilty”
US Attorney Preet Bharara said:
“For nearly two decades, Christopher Coke led a ruthless criminal enterprise that used fear, force and intimidation to support its drug and arms trafficking ‘businesses’.
“Today’s plea is a welcome conclusion to this ugly chapter.”
Posted by shadmia on February 18, 2011
Something tragic happened to Marc Anthony Bookal, on Dec. 14, 2009, when he was 4 years old. He was killed. Despite a massive manhunt for the little boy, his body was not discovered until three months later, stuffed into two plastic bags and hidden under brush in a deserted field in the city of Newburgh, NY.
The last person to see little Marc alive was his mother’s boyfriend, Cory Byrd, who claimed that the boy had disappeared after he left unnoticed through an open door. Cory, who has a violent criminal record, was on parole at the time of the boy’s disappearance. He was arrested on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and parole violation. To read more about this case click here.
Almost one year after finding the remains of Marc Bookal, Cory Byrd was charged with his murder. In fact Cory Byrd faces six charges in relation to the death of the 4-year-old:
- Intentional Murder in the 2nd Degree
- Depraved Indifference Murder in the 2nd Degree
- Manslaughter in the 1st Degree
- Manslaughter in the 2nd Degree
- Two Counts of Tampering with Physical Evidence
According to District Attorney Frank Phillips: “As a result of an autopsy it was determined that Marc Bookal died as a result of blunt force trauma and numerous injuries throughout his body and upon his head.”
“Obviously a very tragic event when anybody dies as a result of a homicide, compounded extraordinarily when that victim is 4 years of age,” the DA continued.
Marc Bookal’s biological father, Yul Bookal said:
“Even if I lose my job, [I’ve] got be there. If I have be at the court, I don’t care, I got to be there for my son. I got to represent him. He’s dead, he can’t represent himself,”
Referring to Cory Byrd, Yul Bookal said:
“He’s just an evil [expletive]. He need to be put to death. I wish New York had the death penalty”
“What could a little four-year-old boy have done to make you kill him?” Yul Bookal said at the funeral last year. “I’m trying to make sense out of it, but it makes no sense.”
Posted by shadmia on June 26, 2010
Christopher Dudus Coke: Arrives in the US
Click below for the latest
Posted by shadmia on January 26, 2010
The 13-year-old boy known as “Pinky” will not face murder charges in the stabbing death of 17-year-old Levi King Flores. Instead a grand jury, finding there was not enough evidence to support a second-degree murder charge, opted instead to charge him with:
- 1 Count Second-Degree Manslaughter (felony)
- 3 Counts of Second-Degree Assault (felonies)
- 1 Count of Fourth-Degree Misdemeanor Criminal Possession of a Weapon.
Also, he will no longer be charged as an adult. According to state law, his age and the reduction in charges require that he be tried in Family Court. He was arraigned on Wednesday Jan. 20.
A trial date of Feb 3 at 1:30 pm has been set. Family Court judge Andrew Bivona will preside. Orange county attorney David Darwin said he would appoint a senior assistant in the Family Law division to prosecute the case. There has been no word on who the defense lawyer will be.
According to the Times Herald Record, supporters of Levi King Flores attacked the 13-year-old while he was in detention at a youth facility in Westchester County. He has since been moved to another facility further away in Western New York. Although there has been no outbreak of violence, the police have been closely monitoring the situation on the streets of Newburgh and have placed extra patrols near the schools.
Posted by shadmia on January 20, 2010
The gang violence that brought an end to the life of 17-year-old Levi King Flores could not dampen the spirits of the hundreds of people who showed up at the wake and funeral services for the Newburgh youth. Sure, there was almost universal sadness and tears for a life that ended way too soon but there was also the strength of spirit that unified everyone, knowing that he was loved.
“No mother should bury a son, no daughter should bury a father, whatever happened today should not be happening again, we should not be burying our youth,” Fr. Fernando Hernandez of St. Patrick’s Church, Newburgh.
However some of Levi’s friends see things quite differently:
“We’ve got one thing on our mind and that’s revenge, you know. That’s how it is, if the cops can’t help us who’s going to help us” Sergio Nava.
For scenes of the funeral service click on this link Levi King Flores Funeral. Levi King Flores will be buried in Mexico.
Posted by shadmia on January 15, 2010
Levi King Flores was only 17 years old. He had not yet graduated from High School. He could not yet vote. He couldn’t buy beer. He couldn’t even buy a pack cigarettes….and he will never be able to do any of those things because he was stabbed to death on the streets of Newburgh, NY on Jan. 13, 2010. He leaves behind loving parents, siblings, a girlfriend, a son and many friends. Levi was a victim of gang violence.
A 13-year-old boy, who goes by the street name of “Pinky”, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Levi Flores. He was arraigned in Newburgh City Court before Judge Harold Ramseyhe and was placed into the custody of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Police did not release real name.
According to reports, a fight broke out at the corner of First St. and Carpenter Ave. in which Levi was stabbed along with a 12-year-old boy. They were both taken to St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital Newburgh Campus. While there, two other teens showed up, also with stabbed wounds – a 14-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl. All of them were interviewed by the police. During the course of their investigation, the police learned the identity of the accused 13-year-old.
Levi and two of the other stabbing victims were taken by helicopter to Westchester Medical Center. While en route Levi died. The others are expected to survive.
“It’s unbelievable, it’s unbelievable that the violence has resulted in this kind of action. What used to be a personal insult or an assault in the school yard that might have resulted in a fist fight is now culminating outside on the city streets…its unbelievable,” said Eric Paolilli the chief of police.
The next day at NFA, the high school, there was a lot of tension. A number of fights broke out. The police were called in. By noon they had arrested 4 students. Many parents showed up at the school to get their kids early. Some of the students were angry but many were grieving. The disturbance prompted school officials to cancel all after school activities and close the school system for the following day, Friday. On Monday the schools will remain closed in observance of Martin Luther King’s birthday.
Posted by shadmia on October 31, 2009
Christopher “Dudus” Coke, 40, a Jamaican national, is wanted by the US authorities on a number of drug and weapon offenses. See the story here.
The U.S. has officially asked the Jamaican government to hand him over to face those charges and has complained about the tardiness on the part of Jamaican government to do so. See the extradition request here.
“The U.S. government is looking forward to the Jamaican government respecting their obligations under the treaty,” Patricia Attkisson, spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, said.
Acknowledging the request for Christopher Dudus Coke’s extradition, a Jamaican official responded:
“The Government has been notified and discussions are taking place. It is principally the prerogative of the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General’s office”, Foreign Affairs Minister Kenneth Baugh said.
Coke’s lawyer, Tom Tavares-Finson, said he had not seen any paperwork and did not know why the U.S. was interested in his client. He claimed that Coke had no connections with the United States and was also not sure if his client would turn himself in voluntarily.
“We’re waiting to hear what the decision is,” said Tavares-Finson, who has dismissed the U.S. charges as “hype.”
According to reports, Coke is the alleged leader of the “Shower Posse” gang. He is charged in the U.S. Southern District of New York with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana and conspiracy to illegally traffic in firearms. Coke faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted. Under the Extradition Treaty, accused persons do not have to sell illicit drugs in the United States to be convicted in that country. See a report in the Jamaican newspaper the Jamaica Gleaner concerning the U.S.- Jamaican Extradition Treaty.
Christopher Coke is not only politically well-connected to the governing party in Jamaica, the JLP (Jamaica Labour Party), he is also the recognized leader of his community of Tivoli Gardens in downtown Kingston. His influence stretches across the entire island of Jamaica and overseas to the U.S. and England. His extradition to the U.S. would likely have huge ramifications among his followers and his community.
Another Jamaican newspaper, the Jamaica Observer gives this perspective on Coke, as well as some background information. His aliases include Dudus, President and Shortman:
“He is the leading figure among JLP garrisons and many leaders in those communities report to him. He is tremendously powerful and is feared by friends and foes alike”
According to an article in Jamaicaviews.com, there could be social unrest if Coke was to be extradited. He has the legitimacy that the government can only envy among the urban poor. A Caribbean scholar with knowledge of the workings of inner-city communities across the region put it this way:
“For the people, legitimacy in the Government stops at Carib 5 cinema (in Cross Roads). From that point down, he (Dudus) is more legitimate than the Government. He has a monopoly of force and consensual power because he has legitimacy that the Government of Jamaica cannot even dream to have where the urban poor is concerned.”
“What does a government do when they have created a government within a government? What do they now do when they have to hand up this government to another government?” he asked. “He (Dudus) can get kids to be off the street at 8:30 pm. The Government does not even have the power to scratch anybody’s hair much more to do something like that. People feel safer in Tivoli Gardens than anywhere else. It is the safest garrison. This is touchy. In a country that barely understands order, you have found somebody to provide order in the midst of chaos because downtown is chaos. What do you do with him?”
The government in Jamaica is under pressure to respond to the U.S. request for extradition from the opposition party the PNP (People’s National Party). Peter Bunting, Opposition spokesman on national security, claims that the Government’s failure to extradite Tivoli Gardens strongman, Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, has caused a stand-off between Washington and Kingston.
Peter Bunting, said in a press statement that the longer the Government took to honor the US request to send Coke to stand trial, the country’s national interests and international reputation was being jeopardized.
“It is completely untrue,” said Minister of Justice and Attorney General Dorothy Lightbourne:
“The Jamaican Government has, indeed, responded through the channels laid down in the Extradition Treaty between Jamaica and the United States and there is ongoing communication between the authorities of both states,” she said in a press statement.
There has also been criticism of Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Bruce Golding. Tivoli Gardens is his constituency and he has mostly been silent on the requested extradition of Christopher Coke. An editorial asked a question that Prime Minister Golding needs to answer clearly and unequivocally:
That question is “whether the Government’s loyalties lie with those who hold that the end justifies the means or the citizens of this country who are committed to order and the rule of law”.
According to Claude Robinson, a journalist with the Jamaica Observer:
All that can be expected of the Prime Minister is a simple and clear statement acknowledging the request and affirming that it will be dealt with in accordance with our democracy and our constitution without regard to the political affiliation of the target of the request. Once that due process is complete, the country will be told the full outcome. That’s all that was expected from the prime minister. He should have delivered.
So the question remains, as it has for over two months now:
Will the Jamaican government hand over Christopher “Dudus” Coke to the U.S. authorities to answer the criminal charges against him?
Posted by shadmia on October 13, 2009
I know love can make one do strange things and I would assume that a newly wed couple would want to spend some quality time together. Well, Brian Dykes and Mindy McGhee‘s idea of quality time landed the Tennessee honeymooners in big trouble on their wedding night.
Brian Dykes and Mindy McGhee were married Wednesday at the Angel’s View Wedding Chapel in Sevierville’s Black Bear Ridge Resort where they also rented one of the resort cabins.
According to a police report, a resort worker noticed the couple’s car back outside the chapel around 1:00 a.m. After the car left, the worker found the chapel had been burglarized and a lock-box with cash was missing.
Sevier County sheriff’s deputies found Dykes and McGhee at a Pigeon Forge restaurant. The sheriff’s department said the couple confessed and turned over a lock-box with nearly $500.