A follow up now to a post I did on The Mantle a few weeks ago: “The Other Drug War Next Door.” That post focused in large part on attempts to apprehend notorious Jamaican drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke and on attempts by residents in his Tivoli Gardens neighborhood in Kingston to prevent that from happening. News from Jamaica Tuesday night is that Dudus was finally taken into custody, but how that happened is open to interpretation – Jamaican officials say that Dudus was stopped at a police checkpoint; his pastor though claims they were stopped by police while on their way to the American embassy to surrender.
Why go to the Americans? It was an extradition order from the United States on charges of drug and gun smuggling that kicked off the whole hunt for Dudus - eventually. The Jamaican government, led by Prime Minister Bruce Golding spent the better part of a year fighting the extradition request, which focused unwanted attention on the close links between the drug baron and prime minister. Tivoli Gardens lies within Golding’s district and reliably delivered large blocks of votes to his Jamaican Labor Party each election. Rumors in Kingston were that Golding finally decided to act on the extradition order after learning that the US Drug Enforcement Agency had evidence of the Golding/Dudus sweetheart deal on a wiretap of Dudus’ phones. Dudus’ decision to skip the middleman and surrender directly to the Americans may have been motivated by his own father’s death in a Jamaican jail after a fire mysteriously broke out in his cell. Meanwhile, residents of Tivoli Gardens don’t want Dudus to go to jail either in the United States or Jamaica, claiming that he (and not the Jamaican government) is the only one supplying much-needed social services in their poverty-stricken portion of Jamaica. Dudus has in the past funded schools, health clinics and job programs in Tivoli Gardens.
1 day ago