Contrasting bids in Dudus case
NEW YORK– When a United States federal court hears arguments in May for and against a lengthy jail term for reputed Jamaican drug lord, Christopher “Dudus” Coke, it will likely get two starkly different portraits of the Tivoli Gardens ‘don’.
Coke’s sentencing, which was to have been on Friday after he admitted to racketeering, conspiracy and drug-trafficking last September, will follow an evidentiary hearing, beginning on May 22 before Judge Robert Patterson of the Federal Southern District Court of New York.
US prosecutors have urged that Coke get the maximum 23 years in prison.
But defence lawyers have asked that the prosecution’s request be significantly reduced, claiming that it would be too harsh.
Before Friday’s sentencing postponement, Coke pleaded for mercy, claiming he was a “do-gooder” in his Kingston community.
“I implemented a lot of social programmes for the residents of my community — programmes that teach them about self-empowerment,” he wrote in a seven-page letter.
The court also acknowledged that it received numerous letters of support from Jamaicans, claiming Coke’s “good works.”
But prosecutors, in court papers, described the Tivoli Gardens neighbourhood in West Kingston as “a garrison community” patrolled by Coke’s lieutenants.
Prosecutors said anyone who crossed Coke’s path was detained and punished, and that Coke’s gang also used women as mules to transport drugs to the United States.
The court also disclosed that several women abused in Jamaica have written to Judge Patterson asking him to impose the maximum sentence on Coke.
The drug lord was captured in Jamaica in 2010, a month after a bloody siege of his West Kingston stronghold that left more than 70 dead. (CMC)