KINGSTON, Jamaica — Reputed gang leader Christopher “Dudus” Coke, who eluded a bloody police offensive in his slum stronghold last month, was arrested Tuesday by authorities outside Jamaica’s capital, the island’s top cop said.
Coke has been called one of the world’s most dangerous drug lords by U.S. authorities and faces trial in New York on drug and arms trafficking charges. His arrest came nearly a month after 76 people were killed during a four-day assault by police and soldiers on the West Kingston slum of Tivoli Gardens, Coke’s base that was defended by his armed followers.
At a news conference, Police Commissioner Owen Ellington said the 42-year-old Coke was in good condition in police custody. He said Coke was captured by police manning a vehicle checkpoint along a highway, but said other “circumstances of (Coke’s) arrest are being investigated.”
The Rev. Al Miller, an influential evangelical preacher who facilitated the surrender of Coke’s brother earlier this month, told The Associated Press that Coke was prepared to surrender to authorities at the U.S. Embassy in Kingston when police stopped his convoy on a highway outside the capital.
“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 U.S. Embassy because that’s where he would feel more comfortable.”
Miller said police captured Coke on the way to the embassy and then took him to the nearby Spanish Town police headquarters. He was then flown to Kingston, the preacher said.
Last month, a U.S. law enforcement official in New York, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that a lawyer for Coke was in negotiations with the U.S. Justice Department about his client’s possible safe removal to New York to face charges.
Coke is said to fear suffering the same fate as his father, a gang leader known as Jim Brown, who died in a prison fire in 1992 while awaiting extradition to the U.S. on drug charges.
U.S. Embassy officials did not immediately return calls. A phone for Coke’s lead attorney, Don Foote, went unanswered. @ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/22/christopher-coke-alleged_n_621734.html