THE United States Embassy was not in a position to accommodate former fugitive Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, even if the Rev Merrick ‘Al’ Miller had succeeded in his mission to take him there, senior police officials have said.
Miller failed in his attempt to transport the alleged drug lord all the way to the Liguanea, St Andrew location, after police, acting on what they called “intelligence” intercepted his sports utility with Coke as the sole passenger, along the Mandela Highway in St Catherine last Tuesday.
Coke was taken into custody, put before a specially arranged local court two days later, and waived his right to an extradition hearing that paved the way for US authorities to take control of him.
Coke was wanted by US law enforcers to face charges related to cocaine trafficking and the smuggling of guns.
“It would have been a breach on the part of the US Embassy if they had accepted him (Coke),” said deputy superintendent of police at the national intelligence centre, Kevin Blake.
“The embassy would not have taken him, because the court had determined that a case had been made out against him,” the officer said.
Acting deputy commissioner of police Glenmore Hinds, who like DSP Blake spoke with the Observer last Friday, said that it would not be in keeping with the spirit of co-operation between Jamaica and the US if Coke had been accepted.
The senior officer said that US officials would not have made the mistake of taking Coke in.
“Once a warrant has been issued, it is only the judiciary and the minister who can make a decision one way or another after that.
“Even if he goes to the embassy, they would have to call us, for us to come and get him, because there was a matter that was pending.
“If the warrant had not been served, then he could go there freely and hand himself over to US authorities, but the only way that he could go there after the warrant had been served, was to seek asylum,” Hinds said.
Miller, who was later charged with one count each of harbouring a fugitive and perverting the course of justice, was granted bail in the sum of $200,000.
Eyebrows have since been raised about the ease with which Rev Miller was released on bond, with some suggesting that the allegations against him were so serious that he should have been remanded in custody.
Hinds would not comment on the decision to grant Rev Miller bail, saying “it is up to the men on the ground to decide whether or not bail is granted.”