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NYC drug lord's sentence stuns Jamaicans

June 9, 2012 at 9:56 AM

WEST KINGSTON, Jamaica, June 9 (UPI) -- People in a Jamaican neighborhood expressed outrage at the prison sentence handed down to their one-time protector and drug kingpin Christopher "Dudus" Coke.

Residents of the Tivoli Gardens enclave in West Kingston called the 23-year sentence handed down in New York overly harsh and bemoaned the steady increase in street crime in the neighborhood he once controlled ever since his arrest.

"That is wickedness," one man told the Jamaica Observer. "The boss don't do anything to get 23 years; that's not fair."

Coke pleaded guilty to racketeering in August as part of a plea agreement and a federal judge in Manhattan handed down the maximum sentence Friday. Coke has two weeks to appeal, but his attorney said that was unlikely given the limits of the plea deal.

The Observer said few people considered Coke to be innocent, but felt 5-15 years was a more appropriate sentence. "We no say he's perfect, but God Almighty, it too harsh," said one woman.

Coke ran a thriving drug-smuggling operation based in Tivoli Gardens, where he ran a tight ship that kept a lid on robberies, muggings and other petty crimes. Some residents told The Observer they wanted to move away now that the man they called "president" was no longer keeping things under control.

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