West Kingston strongman Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke could face a maximum sentence of life in prison if he is extradited and convicted by United States authorities. The 40-year-old Coke has been named by the US Department of Justice to a list of “consolidate priority organisation targets” which includes persons the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) says are the “world’s most dangerous narcotics kingpins”.”The charges against Christopher Michael Coke starkly illustrate the dangerous connection between the international trade in narcotics and illicit firearms,” US officials said in a release dated August 28. John P. Gilbride, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Javier F. Pena, special agent in charge of the US Drug Enforcement Agency’s Caribbean Division, have announced that Coke is wanted to answer several charges. In the release, the US authorities announced that Coke has been charged with conspiracy to distribute ganja and cocaine and conspiracy to illegally traffic in firearms. “The United States has formally requested through diplomatic channels that Jamaican authorities formally arrest Coke and extradite him to the Southern District of New York on the US charges,” the release added. If convicted on the narcotics charge, Coke faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison as well as a fine of up to US$4 million or twice the pecuniary gain from the offence.  In addition, Coke faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of US$250,000 on the firearm trafficking charge. However, in a note of caution, the US authorities said that the charges contained in the indictment against Coke are “merely accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty”. Last night, The Gleaner was unsuccessful in its efforts to contact the attorney expected to represent Coke, Tom Tavares-Finson.  However, The Associated Press reported that Tavares-Finson dismissed the allegations as “hype” from the DEA and said his client was dumbfounded.  “He can’t understand what it could possibly be,” AP further quoted Tavares-Finson. “We’ll wait and see. I don’t know what’s going to happen with the Jamaican Government.”

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