NEW YORK, June 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Christopher Michael Coke, aka "Michael Christopher Coke," aka "Paul Christopher Scott," aka "Presi," aka "General," aka "President," aka "Duddus," aka "Shortman," arrived this evening in the Southern District of New York to face charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and cocaine and conspiracy to illegally traffic in firearms, announced U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) New York Field Division John P. Gilbride and Special Agent-in-Charge of DEA's Caribbean Division Javier F. Peña. Coke was arrested by Jamaican authorities on June 22, 2010, near Kingston, Jamaica, after a five-week pursuit by local authorities. Coke waived his right to judicial extradition proceedings in Jamaica and subsequently was transferred to the custody of the DEA and U.S. Marshals Service for transport to the United States. Coke is expected to be arraigned in Manhattan federal court tomorrow.
According to the superseding indictment filed in Manhattan federal court, since the early 1990s, Coke has led an international criminal organization known as the "Shower Posse," with members in Jamaica, the United States and other countries. At Coke's direction and under his protection, members of his criminal organization sold marijuana and crack cocaine in the New York area and elsewhere, and sent the narcotics proceeds back to Coke and his co-conspirators. Coke and his co-conspirators also armed their organization with illegally trafficked firearms.
Coke has been named by the U.S. Department of Justice to the list of Consolidated Priority Organization Targets (CPOTs). The CPOT list includes the world's most dangerous narcotics kingpins.
Coke, 40, is charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana and conspiracy to illegally traffic in firearms. If convicted on the narcotics charge, he 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 $4 million or twice the pecuniary gain from the offense. He also faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison on the firearms trafficking charge, and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the pecuniary gain. This case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert P. Patterson.
U.S. Attorney Bharara praised the investigative work of the DEA's New York Field Division and Caribbean Division's Jamaica Country Office. U.S. Attorney Bharara also thanked the U.S. Department of Justice Office of International Affairs 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.
"As charged in the indictment pending against Coke in Manhattan federal court, drugs and guns were the bread and butter of Coke's 'Shower Posse,'" said U.S. Attorney Bharara. "We are relieved that Coke's arrest and transfer to New York was not marked by the violence that had gripped the streets of Jamaica for so many days. We look forward to presenting our case to a jury in a Manhattan courtroom and bringing Coke to justice."
"The arrest of Christopher Michael Coke takes one of the world's most dangerous narcotics kingpins off the streets," said DEA New York Special Agent-in-Charge Gilbride. "The case against Coke, built over the last three years, is a direct result of DEA New York Field Division's collaboration with its law enforcement partners, both domestically and internationally. This partnership is a testament to our unwavering dedication to clean up our communities and track down drug traffickers, wherever they hide. This arrest and extradition to face charges are the next steps in ensuring Coke and his 'Shower Posse' drug organization are brought to justice. I'd also like to commend the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, the Jamaican authorities and DEA Caribbean Division's Kingston, Jamaica, Country Office for all their hard work on this case."
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jocelyn Strauber and John Zach are in charge of the prosecution, which is being handled by the Office's International Narcotics Trafficking Unit.
The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice