It's Over! Christopher Dudus Coke has been captured by the Jamaican authorities. It happened about 4:00pm on June 22, 2010 on Mandela Highway just outside the capital, Kingston.
According to reports Coke was on his way to surrender himself at the U.S. embassy, in the company of a respected preacher --- the Rev. Al Miller, pastor of the Fellowship Tabernacle --- when the vehicle in which he was traveling ran into a police roadblock. It appears as if the police had prior knowledge of Dudus' plans. Police Commissioner, Owen Ellington told reporters that they were "acting on intelligence" when the vehicle was stopped.
Coke, who was reportedly wearing a wig at the time, was transported to the Spanish Town Police Station where he was held for just over two hours before being transported by Jamaica Defence Force helicopter to an undisclosed location.
The capture of Christopher Dudus Coke after a month-long manhunt has been costly:
- Strained relations with the U.S.
- A State of Emergency declared (and is still in effect)
- 73 lives lost in a police raid on Tivoli Gardens
- An embattled Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, who faces an uncertain political future
Reaction in Tivoli Gardens, Dudus' community has been mixed. Most people expressed relief that Dudus had been captured alive and showed continued support for the "Don". A throng of people -- among them the elderly and the very young -- sang pro-Coke songs and made expletive-filled, anti-Bruce Golding comments as they marched through sections of the community.
"We love wi Prezi same way. No matter what dem do we nah let down Prezi!" shouted one woman, while referring to Coke by one of his aliases.
"A him turn in himself. A him a di real big man," shouted another.
"Him school nuff a wi and give nuff a we place to live and tek care of the homeless," said Kimoy.
Tivoli Gardens resident Ina Bernard was also "glad him go in alive because a kill dem did come fi kill him, eno".
Relief fi know say him safe and dem no kill him," said one woman requesting anonymity.
The pastor, Rev. Al Miller, that Christopher Dudus Coke turned to for help in surrendering to the U.S. authorities, is now the subject of police interest. They have issued a request that Miller turn himself in for questioning -- with his lawyer.
Miller said Coke contacted him and requested his assistance to be taken to the U.S. Embassy in Kingston.
"I, therefore, made arrangements with his lawyers because he wanted to go ahead with the extradition process. So we communicated with the US Embassy, because that's where he said he would feel more comfortable," Miller told The Gleaner.
Miller was one of the unofficial mediators and was instrumental in getting Coke's brother, Leighton (also known as 'Livity'), and sister Sandra to turn themselves in to the police for questioning. Miller said Coke has faith in him.
"He trusts me. It's no different from the others. I have carried in a number of people in the last couple of weeks," he said.
Miller said he was not concerned that his link with one of the region's most dangerous fugitives might cause his reputation irreparable damage.
"They can say anything. It's what is facts, truth and what is right that matters," he said.
According to the Jamaica Observer Miller turned himself into the police for questioning. Whether or not he will face charges is unknown.
"We can only confirm that he has turned himself in. We are not prepared to say much more at this time," head of the Constabulary Communications Network, Inspector Steve Brown told the Observer.
For more background material on the Dudus controversy see the articles below: