KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Jamaica's prime minister has asked local justice officials to review a U.S. request to extradite a man Washington says is one of the world's most dangerous drug kingpins.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding said he believes the U.S. violated an extradition treaty, alleging its agents used illegal wiretaps in the arms- and drug-trafficking case against Christopher “Dudus” Coke.
Golding said he has instructed the attorney general and justice minister to obtain a declaration from the courts on whether the treaty was violated before he signs off on the extradition order. A government statement said Thursday, April 1 that officials were trying to resolve the issue.
The U.S. has sought Coke's extradition since August and has suggested corruption could be holding up its request, straining relations between the countries.
In a report in March, the State Department said Coke has ties to the governing Jamaica Labor Party and essentially controls the barricaded Tivoli Gardens neighborhood in west Kingston, the legislative district represented by the prime minister.
Golding said previously that intercepted communications used in the case against Coke were handled in violation of Jamaican law and that he will not sign off on the extradition request unless the U.S. presents other evidence.
The State Department has named Jamaica a major transit point for South American cocaine.
Coke, 40, the alleged leader of the Shower Posse gang, faces federal charges in New York City of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana and conspiracy to illegally traffic in firearms. The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.