Christopher "Dudus" Coke turned himself in at a military post to face extradition to the United States because officials feared his loyal base in impoverished neighborhoods in Kingston, Jamaica, would stage a backlash.
A power player in a Jamaican gang family was flown from the Caribbean island Thursday to face drug and weapons charges in New York.
He arrived in New York sometime before 7:45 p.m., authorities said.
Ultimately Coke turned himself in to stop the violence.
“I take this decision for I now believe it to be in the best interest of my family, the community of western Kingston and in particular the people of Tivoli Gardens and above all Jamaica,” he said at a 15-minute extradition hearing in a military post in Kingston.
Coke said he was deeply saddened by the lives lost in the fighting. A military helicopter took him to Kingston’s airport, where he boarded a U.S. plane, according to defense attorney Tom Taveres-Finson.
The 42-year-old could face life in prison if convicted. Coke has overseen large shipments of cocaine and marijuana to the Eastern United States since the 1990s as the leader of the Shower Posse gang, according to U.S. prosecutors.
At his extradition hearing he said that he is confident he will be found innocent.
His London-based sister, who identified herself as “Pam” in an interview with the Associated Press, said, “They have no evidence of him selling anything. It’s just word of mouth.”
Coke’s father was a famed gangster known as Jim Brown who died in a prison fire in Jamaica while awaiting extradition to the United States also on drug charges.
Coke, who is notoriously violent, has a loyal following in impoverished neighborhoods in Jamaica because he builds schools and health centers and was instrumental in electing the Jamaican prime minister.
After nine months of political maneuverings, Jamaican authorities finally agreed to extradite Coke.