Jamaican Drug Lord in Custody After Weeks of Riots and Gun Battles

According to the New York Times alleged drug kingpin Christopher “Dudus” Coke was arrested by police on the outskirts of Kingston on Tuesday, peacefully ending a manhunt for the fugitive at the center of last month’s deadly raids in the Jamaican capital.

Coke, 42, is wanted for extradition to the United States on drug and gun trafficking charges. Police said they arrested him without violence at a road checkpoint in the Portmore area of St. Catherine Parish, where he was held in a remand center on Tuesday night.

At least 73 people were killed in four days of gun battles last month when police and soldiers stormed the Tivoli Gardens slum in west Kingston in an attempt to take him into custody.

Coke was on his way to surrender at the U.S. Embassy in Kingston when police stopped him at the checkpoint, according to a minister who accompanied him on Tuesday.

“The police searched the vehicle that I was in and they recognized him and held him,” the Reverend Al Miller said.

Miller said Coke contacted him on Tuesday and asked for his help in arranging the surrender at the embassy because he did not trust the police not to harm him if he surrendered to them.

“He also wanted to waive his right to an extradition hearing so that he could go to the U.S. for a trial,” said Miller, a minister at the nondenominational Whole Life Ministry.

Coke commanded a private militia and his supporters torched police stations and engaged in gunfights with police and soldiers during last month’s deadly raids.

U.S. prosecutors have described Coke as the current leader of the “Shower Posse” that murdered hundreds of people during the cocaine wars of the 1980s.

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