Extradited! Jamaican to be tried in US for alleged drug trafficking
Published: Sunday | December 13, 2009
Despite not having budged on the signing of the extradition order for Tivoli Gardens strongman Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, the minister recently put pen to paper, giving authorisation that has paved the way for yet another accused man to stand trial in the United States.
On Friday, Jamaica extradited a 51-year-old man to the United States. The man, Oneil Clarke, who goes by the names Oneil Samuel, David Walker, Peter Samuel and Herbert Heath, of Piggot Street, Mount Salem, St James, was sent to the United States of America to answer to narcotics charges.
Clarke was captured in September by members of the Fugitive Apprehension Team and the Mobile Reserve in Bickersteth, St James.
Following extradition procee-dings, Clarke was handed over to US marshals at the Norman Manley International Airport on Friday.
It was not clear how long ago the United States had requested that Jamaica send Clarke to face a grand jury. Information from the Constabulary Communication Network indicates that the St James man was arrested in the United States in 2007 for possession and distribution of cocaine in Chicago and was on bail, absconded and fled to Jamaica.
He was allegedly a major player in a drug-trafficking organisation in the Chicago metropolitan area.
The issue of extradition has occupied public attention since the United States in July requested that Jamaica Labour Party strongman Coke be sent to them.
Coke, who operates out of Tivoli Gardens, west Kingston, is wanted in the United States for drug and gun trafficking. His non-extradition thus far has created a political firestorm. The Opposition People's National Party (PNP) has stopped short of accusing the Government of shielding one of its key supporters.
Last week in Parliament, Prime Minister Bruce Golding said Jamaica and the United States were discussing the issue of Coke's extradition.
The prime minster, who is member of parliament for West Kingston - Coke's turf - said the time being taken to deal with the extradition of Coke was not unusual, pointing out that the PNP had taken up to 59 months to extradite persons.
Meanwhile, Golding stayed clear of questions from Dr Peter Phillips as to whether members of his Cabinet had met with Coke to discuss the extradition request.
The Golding administration has extradited 31 persons since it took power in September 2007. However, it is not clear how many extradition requests have been received during the period.