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Jamaican founder of marijuana and cocaine trafficking ring dies

Posted on March 25, 2010 3:00 AM EST

The former kingpin and founder of a Jamaican cocaine trafficking and marijuana trafficking ring died last week in Kingston, Jamaica. Vivian Blake was a top leader for the ultra-violent Jamaican Shower Posse. It is believed that the gang was responsible for at least 1,400 drug related killings in the 1980's. After serving a lengthy prison sentence in the United States, Blake returned to Jamaica 14 months ago. He expired at the University Hospital of the West Indies. Family members reported that Blake suffered from kidney failure and diabetes.

While heading the infamous Jamaican gang, "Shower Posse", Blake oversaw a marijuana trafficking and cocaine trafficking ring that operated in Miami, Los Angeles and New York. The drug trafficking network even extended to Anchorage, Alaska. Blake and other members of the gang were implicated in a Miami homicide case that left five people dead at an inner city crack house. He escaped prosecution by leaving the United States on a cruise ship bound for Jamaica.

After returning to Jamaica he started many business ventures including night clubs, a motorcycle rental company and a loan company. The federal government pursued an extradition which effectuated his return to the United States to face charges. Rather than face a jury, Blake entered a guilty plea after his return to Miami. With the assistance of his Miami criminal defense attorney, he entered guilty pleas to racketeering, drug possession, including cocaine and marijuana possession, and admitted to his leadership role in the gang.

Blake grew up in Jamaica and lived an impoverished lifestyle. He attended a private high school after receiving a full scholarship. His first trip to the United States was in 1973 as part of a Jamaican cricket team. Rather than returning home, he remained in New York and established the gang in Brooklyn. There are different accounts of how the Shower Posse got its name. There are two schools of thought. The first is that the gang was aligned with the Jamaica Labor Party who promised a shower of blessings in economic opportunity for the citizens of the island nation. Others believe that the shower related to the hail of gunfire that by the gang would spray at its victims. Federal investigators are seeking the extradition of the purported new leader of the gang who is wanted for firearms offenses and drug trafficking.

Miami has been a hotbed of violent crimes related relating gang activity and drug trafficking for the past three decades. From the Cocaine Cowboys, the Shower Posse and other violent proponents of drug trafficking, the streets of South Florida have often been some of the most dangerous in the United States. The large amount of drugs flowing into and around Miami and the South Florida area caused the legislature to create minimum mandatory prison sentences on drug and firearm offenses. The potential sentences are severe in an effort to chase drug traffickers out of Florida. While the potential penalties have increased for drug trafficking offenses, the latest data does not reflect a decrease in the amount of marijuana, cocaine and heroin on the streets.

Vivian Blake, Founder of Jamaica Drug Gang Dies, NYTimes.com, March 25, 2010.
Categories: Drug Offenses