Jamaican drug kingpin asks NYC judge for leniency

AP News
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Posted: Sep 21, 2011 9:46 AM
Jamaican drug kingpin asks NYC judge for leniency

A Jamaican drug kingpin who admitted his leadership in an international crime ring cited his charitable works in a seven-page letter asking a federal judge in New York City for leniency.

"Good day to you, sir," the Sept. 7 letter from drug lord Christopher Coke to Judge Robert Patterson Jr. of Manhattan federal court begins. "I am humbly asking if you could be lenient on me."

Coke pleaded guilty to racketeering and assault charges last month and faces up to 23 years when he is sentenced Dec. 8.

In the letter, obtained by The New York Times, (http://nyti.ms/qHrxFs) Coke listed 13 reasons why he should not get the maximum sentence.

He said he had lost his mother recently and was told that "while she was on her deathbed, she was crying and kept calling my name."

He said his 8-year-old son had been traumatized by his arrest. "I was told that he is constantly asking for his daddy," Coke said.

Coke also cited his "charitable deeds and social services" in Jamaica such as providing free school supplies for children.

Federal prosecutors had no comment on the letter.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement when Coke entered his guilty plea, "For nearly two decades, Christopher Coke led a ruthless criminal enterprise that used fear, force and intimidation to support its drug and arms trafficking `businesses.' He moved drugs and guns between Jamaica and the United States with impunity."

U.S. authorities have described Coke as one of the world's most dangerous drug dealers.

He was arrested by Jamaican authorities in June 2010 and extradited to the U.S.

A hunt for him in his West Kingston slum stronghold led to a confrontation that killed 73 civilians and three security officers over four days of fighting.

Coke kept a high public profile in the ghettos west of Kingston and was also credited with using his authority to punish thieves and other criminals in an area where the government has little presence.

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Information from: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com