Christopher Dudus Coke, Jamaican drug lord, sentenced to 23 years in US prison


Kingston's Tivoli Gardens neighborhood on May 27, 2010.


Anthony Foster

NEW YORK – Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, 43, a crime boss who controlled the Kingston neighborhood of Tivoli Gardens for two decades, was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 23 years in US jail, Bloomberg News reported.

In June 2010, Coke was extradited to the US and charged with heading an international drug-trafficking ring, Bloomberg News reported. In August 2011, he pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering.

According to the Guardian, Coke managed a small army of up to 200 soldiers and operated his own jail in which he reportedly tortured and killed rivals. His gang was known as the Shower Posse because its members tended to spray people with bullets.

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In a letter, Coke asked the Manhattan court for leniency in his sentencing, the Guardian reported. "I did a lot of charitable deeds and social services to help members of my community,” he wrote, according to the Guardian. “I also host a lot of charity events such as an Easter treat for the elderly persons in my community."

“I concede that he did good things,” Judge Robert P. Patterson said today, according to the New Yorker. “But the conduct charged was of such a bad nature that it offsets the good.”

"With his conviction, Coke is no longer able to traffick drugs in the
US, move guns across our border or terrorize people, and with today's sentence, he will now spend a very long time in prison for his crimes," Preet Bharara, US attorney for Manhattan said, according to the Guardian.

It is still unclear why at least 73 civilians died in 2010 when Jamaican security forces went into Tivoli Gardens to capture Coke and hand him over to US officials, the New Yorker reported. According to the New Yorker:

Most appear to have been unarmed civilians, rounded up and massacred after the neighborhood was already under control.

Stephen Rosen, one of Coke’s attorneys, said Coke hoped to return to Jamaica by his 60th birthday in 2029, the New Yorker reported. “The [guilty] plea was directed at keeping him from getting a life sentence,” Rosen told the New Yorker. “He will, if the government allows, return to Jamaica one day. That’s what he wants.”

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