Friday, June 15, 2012

Jamaican Drug Lord Sentenced To 23 Years In Prison

The DEA released the below information earlier this week:

Wilbert L. Plummer, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Field Division and Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and announced that Christopher Michael Coke, 43, the leader of the Jamaica-based international criminal organization, the "Shower Posse," also known as the "Presidential Click," was sentenced to 23 years in prison..

Coke has been designated by the U.S. Department of Justice as a Consolidated Priority Organization Target (CPOT). The CPOT list includes the world’s most dangerous narcotics traffickers.

Coke pled guilty on August 31, 2011 to one count of racketeering conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering. He was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Robert P. Patterson.

DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Wilbert Plummer stated, “This sentencing shows the tenacity that law enforcement has upheld in order to identify, arrest and prosecute Christopher Coke and those like him who have been ‘untouchable’ criminals. For years, Coke has overseen cocaine and marijuana distribution as well as illegally traffic in firearms throughout the United States. Through concerted law enforcement efforts he has finally seen the consequences of his actions and has been sentenced to 23 years behind bars.”

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “From his home base in Jamaica, Christopher Coke presided over an international drug and weapons trafficking organization that he controlled through violence and intimidation for nearly two decades; enlisting an army of ‘soldiers’ to do his bidding. With his conviction, he is no longer able to traffick drugs in the U.S., move guns across our border, or terrorize people, and with today’s sentence; he will now spend a very long time in prison for his crimes.”

According to the superseding information and statements made during court proceedings:

Since the early 1990s, Coke led the Presidential Click, which had members in Jamaica, the United States, and other countries. He was based in the Tivoli Gardens area, a neighborhood in inner-city Kingston, Jamaica, that he controlled. Tivoli Gardens was guarded by a group of gunmen who acted at Cokes direction. They were armed with illegally trafficked firearms from the United States that Coke imported into Jamaica.

Since 1994, members of the Presidential Click have been involved in drug trafficking in locations throughout the world, including New York City, Miami, and Kingston, Jamaica. At Cokes direction and on his behalf, members distributed marijuana, cocaine, and crack cocaine and sent him the proceeds. They also supplied Coke with firearms that they obtained in the United States. The Presidential Click members relied on Coke to provide them with protection and to assist them in their drug businesses, including with respect to the resolution of narcotics related disputes.

For example, in May 2007, Coke and others agreed to assault a narcotics trafficker in the Bronx, New York, when the trafficker failed to pay a drug debt owed to another member of the Presidential Click. Coke was arrested by Jamaican authorities on June 22, 2010, near Kingston, Jamaica, and arrived in the Southern District of New York on June 24, 2010.

In addition to his prison term, Coke was sentenced to four years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1.5 million in forfeiture.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the DEA’s New York Field Division and Caribbean Division’s Kingston Office. Mr. Bharara also thanked the Office of International Affairs in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division for their significant assistance in this case, as well as the U.S. Embassy in Kingston and the Office of the Legal Adviser at the Department of State.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jocelyn Strauber and John Zach are in charge of the prosecution.

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