Kingston: Christopher "Dudus" Coke, a
Jamaican alleged drug lord wanted to face trial in the United
States, was captured, after a manhunt sparked bloodshed last
month, police said.
"The security forces wish to confirm reports that
Christopher Lloyd Coke, for whom police is holding a warrant
of arrest regarding extradition proceedings, was arrested this
afternoon," police commissioner Owen Ellington said yesterday.
Local church leader Reverend Al Miller earlier told
reporters he "helped in the process to hand over Coke,"
Ellington said police wanted to interview Miller.
The church leader has helped in negotiations to ease
tensions after a nearly week-long assault last month on a slum
to capture Coke left 73 dead and divided the island nation.
Jamaican police backed by troops descended on Coke`s
stronghold of the impoverished Tivoli Gardens slum last month
seeking to arrest him.
Coke is wanted in the United States on drug trafficking
charges, but he is also hailed by many residents as a Robin
Hood figure who offers security and small-time jobs on some of
the world`s toughest streets.
"I would like to appeal to the families, friends and
sympathisers of Christopher Coke to remain calm and to allow
the law to take its course," the police commissioner said.
"We would also like to reassure the country that we will
continue our efforts to defeat organised crime and to restore
law and order in this country while, at the same time, turning
around the crime and security situation," Ellington stressed.
Despite heavy security, house-to-house searches and a
bloody shootout between security forces and armed Coke
supporters, he managed to evade capture, amid rumours that he
was either being sheltered on the island or had fled.
Ellington had pledged a thorough investigation of all
allegations and vowed to find Coke.
But the unrest which saw the government declare a state
of emergency left downtown Kingston deserted for days, and
trapped many people in their homes with no food and water, as
gun battles raged on the capital`s streets.
Pictures of decaying corpses, masked gunmen and a
fugitive drug don were a blow to Jamaica`s tourist image and
home of late reggae star Bob Marley.
Kingston has long had the dubious distinction of being
one of the world`s murder capitals, and most tourists simply
pass through the airport heading for its renowned beaches
especially on the north coast.
Tourism has been one bright spot in the economy since the
island gained independence from Britain in 1962.