August 31, 2011
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-2906
Jamaican Drug Lord Christopher Michael Coke Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court
MANHATTAN, NY. - Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division United States Drug Enforcement Administration John P. Gilbride and United States Attorney Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York announced that Christopher Michael Coke, the leader of the Jamaica-based international criminal organization, "Shower Posse," also known as the "Presidential Click," pled guilty today to one count of racketeering conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering. Coke was arrested by Jamaican authorities on June 22, 2010, near Kingston, Jamaica, and arrived in the Southern District of New York on June 24, 2010. Coke pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert P. Patterson.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: "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. Today's plea is a welcome conclusion to this ugly chapter of criminal history."
According to the Superseding Information filed today in Manhattan federal court: Since the early 1990s, Coke led the Presidential Click, with members in Jamaica, the United States, and other countries, and controlled the Tivoli Gardens area, a neighborhood in inner city Kingston, Jamaica. Tivoli Gardens was guarded by a group of gunmen who acted at Coke's direction. They were armed with illegally trafficked firearms from the United States, that Coke imported into Jamaica.
Since 1994, members of the Presidential Click have been involved in drug trafficking in locations throughout the world including New York City, Miami, and Kingston, Jamaica. Members distributed narcotics, including marijuana, cocaine and crack cocaine, at Coke's direction and on his behalf, and sent the proceeds back to Coke in Jamaica. They also supplied Coke with firearms that they obtained in the United States. The Presidential Click members relied on Coke to provide them with protection and to assist them in their drug businesses, including with respect to the resolution of narcotics-related disputes.
For example, in May 2007, Coke and others agreed to assault a narcotics trafficker in the Bronx, New York, when the trafficker failed to pay a drug debt owed to another member of the Presidential Click. Coke has been named by the U.S. Department of Justice to the list of Consolidated Priority Organization ("CPOTs"). The CPOT list includes the world's most dangerous narcotics traffickers.
On the racketeering conspiracy charge, Coke, 42, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a maximum term of five years' supervised release, and a maximum fine of the greatest of $250,000, or twice the pecuniary gain from the offense. On the conspiracy to commit assault in aid of racketeering charge, he faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison, a maximum term of one year of supervised release, and a maximum fine of the greatest of $250,000, or twice the pecuniary gain. Coke is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge PATTERSON on December 8, 2011, at 4:00 p.m.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the DEA's New York Field Division and Caribbean Division's Kingston Office. Mr. 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.
The case is being handled by the Office's Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jocelyn Strauber and John Zach are in charge of the prosecution.