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'Lots of money needed for friends to turn on Dudus'

Published:Wednesday | June 16, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer

THE PRIVATE Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) has asked some of its members to consider putting up money to boost the US$20,000 (J$1.7 million) police bounty on accused drug kingpin-turned-fugitive Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, The Gleaner learnt yesterday.

The move by the police comes after Coke has managed to elude capture nearly a month after a massive military incursion into his Tivoli Gardens stronghold to serve an arrest warrant.

Chairman of the PSOJ's National Security Committee, Peter John Thwaites, called the reward "a start". Nonetheless, he had reservations.

"For a guy like him (Coke), you would need a lot of money ... enough to make even his most trusted friend turn him in."

However, acting deputy commissioner of police in charge of operations, Glenmore Hinds, called the reward substantial, pointing out that it was the highest he could remember on offer for a fugitive.

Despite this, he contended that the reward should not be the main motivator for people who have information that can help investigators.

"We are expecting that people, motivated by their civic duty, will call us," Hinds told The Gleaner yesterday.

But, Thwaites, who is also chairman of Crime Stop, said the reward offered by the police might not be enticing enough, "given Mr Coke's alleged wealth".

Hinds said police investigators were now "doing some research" to determine the true extent of Coke's wealth.

"We are looking into his criminal organisation to put ourselves in a position to utilise all the legal options available to us," he explained.

Coke is wanted in the United States (US) on drug and gun charges.

After nearly nine months of delay, Prime Minister Bruce Golding gave the go-ahead last month for Attorney General Dorothy Lightbourne to sign the extradition request from the US.

Several operations in the upscale East Kirkland Heights neighbourhood have led to the capture of some of his cronies, but there is still no sight of Coke.

In one of those East Kirkland Heights operations, businessman Keith Clarke was shot and killed by the security forces.