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U.S. Seeks 23-Year Term for Drug Lord

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have asked a judge to impose a 23-year prison sentence on Christopher M. Coke. A man, who has been described as one of the most powerful and brutal drug lords in Jamaica and whose arrest in 2010 came after a month-long manhunt that left more than 70 people dead. Mr. Coke, 42, pleaded guilty in August to charges including racketeering conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday in Federal District Court.

In a sentencing memorandum filed late Wednesday, the office of the United States attorney, said that the federal advisory sentencing guidelines that apply in the case involving Mr. Coke called for a sentence of slightly less than 22 years to 23 years in prison. In its memorandum to Judge Robert P. Patterson Jr., the office wrote that Mr. Coke was so powerful in Jamaica he enjoyed “virtual immunity from the reach of law enforcement” there. Alleging that Mr. Coke led a drug trafficking ring from an armed stronghold called Tivoli Gardens in Kingston, moving guns and drugs between Jamaica and the United States, and ordering murders, shootings and beatings.

Mr. Coke, in a seven-page handwritten letter sent to Judge Patterson last September, made his own sentencing request. In the letter, he said he accepted responsibility for his actions and asked the judge to use his “discretion” to sentence him “below the guideline range.”

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