SHADMIA'S WORLD

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Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Golding’

Christopher “Dudus” Coke Pleads Guilty

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 in Crime, Drugs, Jamaica, news, Our World, world | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Christopher Dudus Coke: Captured

Posted by shadmia on June 23, 2010

Christopher Dudus Coke: Captured

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Christopher Dudus Coke: Captured

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Christopher Dudus Coke: State of Emergency

Posted by shadmia on May 24, 2010

Christopher Dudus Coke: State of Emergency

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Christopher Dudus Coke: State of Emergency.

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Christopher Dudus Coke: Extradition Approved!

Posted by shadmia on May 22, 2010

Christopher Dudus Coke: Extradition Approved!

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Christopher “Dudus” Coke Wanted

Posted by shadmia on October 31, 2009

Christopher Dudus Coke

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?

See Also: Dudus Extradited? and Dudus Still Wanted <<—-

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Posted in Crime, Drugs, Jamaica, news, Our World, politics, world | Tagged: , , , , , | 10 Comments »