Christopher Coke, a Jamaican drug trafficker whose arrest last summer came after a monthlong manhunt that left dozens dead in Kingston, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to racketeering conspiracy charges in federal court in Manhattan, reports the New York Times. Coke, 42, pleaded guilty to trafficking large quantities of marijuana and cocaine, as well as approving the stabbing of a marijuana dealer in New York. He faces a maximum sentence of 23 years in prison.
The manhunt for Coke, conducted last year at the request of American authorities, led to more than 70 deaths, many in his stronghold of Tivoli Gardens in Kingston. In some instances, the police executed unarmed men, according to relatives of victims. In the months before the Jamaican prime minister acted on the extradition request, Jamaican leaders warned the American Embassy that any move to arrest Coke could result in widespread violence or civil unrest because Coke was well fortified in Tivoli Gardens, where he was a popular figure, according to a review of secret State Department cables released by WikiLeaks.