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Alleged Jamaica drug lord arrested
Wanted by the US, Christopher "Dudus" Coke caught month after hunt for him turned deadly.
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2010 01:16 GMT
At least 73 people were killed when troops attempted to arrest Coke last month [EPA]

Alleged Jamaican drug kingpin Christopher "Dudus" Coke has been arrested on the outskirts of the capital, Kingston.

Coke, 42, is wanted for extradition to the US on drug trafficking and gun running charges, and at least 73 people were killed in four days of gun battles last month when police and soldiers stormed the Tivoli Garden slum in Kingston in an attempt to take him into custody.

Police said they arrested Coke without violence at a road checkpoint in the Portmore area of St Catherine Parish on Tuesday.

Owen Ellington, the police commissioner, said at a news conference on Tuesday that Coke was in good condition, but provided few specifics, saying that "the circumstances of [Coke's] arrest are being investigated".

But the Al Miller, an influential evangelical preacher who facilitated the surrender of Coke's brother earlier this month, told the Associated Press news agency that Coke was prepared to surrender to authorities at the US embassy in Kingston when police stopped his vehicle on a highway outside the capital.

'Wanted to surrender'

"A contact was made on his behalf that he wanted to give himself in," Miller said. "I therefore made arrangements with his lawyers because he wanted to go ahead with the extradition process, so we communicated with the US embassy because that's where he would feel more comfortable."

IN DEPTH

 

  Profile: Christopher Coke
  Music and murder
  Drug gangs 'call shots'

Miller said police captured Coke on the way to the embassy and then took him to the nearby Spanish Town police headquarters.

Miller said Coke contacted him to ask his help in arranging the surrender at the embassy because he did not trust the police not to harm him if he surrendered to them.

"He also wanted to waive his right to an extradition hearing so that he could go to the US for a trial," said Miller, a minister at the nondenominational Whole Life Ministry.

US prosecutors have described Coke as the current leader of the "Shower Posse" that murdered hundreds of people by showering them with bullets during the cocaine wars of the 1980s.

Coke was known as "president" to the people of his slum, serving as community leader and enforcer in the gritty neighbourhood in an area that the government acknowledges it has long neglected.

He also commanded a private militia and was a strong supporter of the ruling Jamaica Labour party.

Jamaica initially refused requests to extradite him to New York for trial after his indictment last year, and the case had strained relations between the US and Jamaica.

But the government tried to arrest him last month and in recent days offered a $60,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Source:
Agencies
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