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Jamaican drug lord sentenced to 23 years

By Dominique Debucquoy-Dodley, CNN
updated 9:12 AM EDT, Sun June 17, 2012
Christopher Michael Coke, known as
Christopher Michael Coke, known as "Dudus," received the maximum sentences.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Christopher Coke sentenced on racketeering, conspiracy to commit assault
  • He also must pay $1.5 million
  • Bloody standoff before his arrest turned a Kingston neighborhood into a war zone

New York (CNN) -- The Jamaican drug lord who turned a Kingston neighborhood into a war zone while resisting arrest in 2010 was sentenced in New York to 23 years in federal prison, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Friday.

Christopher Michael Coke, known as "Dudus," received the maximum sentences on one count of racketeering conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering. He pleaded guilty to the charges in August.

"From his home base in Jamaica, Christopher Coke presided over an international drug and weapons trafficking organization that he controlled through violence and intimidation for nearly two decades; enlisting an army of 'soldiers' to do his bidding," said Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a statement. "With his conviction, he is no longer able to traffick drugs in the U.S., 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."

The court also ordered Coke to pay $1.5 million in forfeiture.

Since the early 1990s, Coke, 43, led the international crime organization called the Shower Posse, based in the Tivoli Gardens neighborhood of Kingston, officials say, and was responsible for the distribution of marijuana, cocaine and crack cocaine in locations that include New York, Miami and Kingston.

At Coke's orders, firearms were delivered to Jamaica from the United States, according to court documents.

In June 2010, Jamaican authorities arrested Coke in Kingston after a bloody standoff between his supporters and local police that lasted nearly a month. The fighting took the lives of dozens of residents. Coke was extradited to the U.S. on June 24, 2010.

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