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Jamaican government agrees to extradite cocaine trafficking kingpin

Posted on May 18, 2010 3:00 AM EST

Succumbing to pressure from his own government and the United States, the Jamaican Prime Minister signed extradition orders for one of Jamaica's most notorious cocaine trafficking kingpins. Denying several requests to extradite Christopher "Dudus" Coke, Prime Minister Bruce Golding changed gears and announced that he would allow the alleged drug trafficker to be extradited to New York to stand trial. An indictment out of New York alleges that Coke has been involved in cocaine trafficking, marijuana trafficking and gunrunning since the 1990's. Once Coke is extradited to the United States, it is believed that he will retain a criminal defense law firm to defend the allegations.

When the information regarding the information went public, widespread fear hit the streets of Kingston with businesses shutting down and people fleeing the city. According to court documents, Coke is the leader of gang called the "Shower Posse" with ties to cocaine, marijuana and firearm trafficking. The gang controls a neighborhood within Kingston called "Tivoli Garderns". The interesting part is that Golding represents "Tivoli Gardens" in parliament. Coke has been credited for keeping the neighborhood a relatively peaceful place to live. In an interesting turn of events, the prime minister had previously authorized the retention of a Los Angeles criminal defense law firm to lobby Washington to drop the extradition.

Unless something changes, Coke will be flown to the United States and appear at a pre-trial detention hearing before a federal court magistrate judge. The criminal lawyer representing Coke may seek an extraordinary bond to secure his client's release. In deciding whether issue Coke or any other defendant for that matter a bond, the federal magistrate must determine whether or not the defendant is a danger to the community. In all probability, the magistrate will find that the defendant is a danger to the community because the allegations include drug trafficking and gun smuggling. The second decision a magistrate must make in determining a bond is a defendant's ties to the community. Coke's counsel will have difficult time proving that he is not a flight risk. The defendant has no ties to the community and had to be extradited back to the United States. In all likelihood, Coke will sit in jail awaiting trial.

The federal government despite its crusades against mortgage fraud and Medicare fraud, continue the war on drugs. Recent extraditions from Columbia, Mexico and now Jamaica demonstrate that the federal authorities are still attempting to diminish the inflow of drugs into this country. Even with the extradition of foreign drug traffickers to face federal charges, one would think that the federal government would understand that the removal of one trafficker would beget another to take his or her place. The war on drugs has continued since the Reagan administration. While the effort has been exhaustive and the amount of cocaine flowing into Miami has diminished, new fronts on the Mexican border have opened up to move illegal substances into the country.

Jamaica Agrees to Turn Over Accused Drug Kingpin to U.S., The Miami Herald, May 17, 2010.
Categories: Extraditions