Jerome Reynolds, Gleaner Writer
The sentencing hearing of convicted Jamaican druglord Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke is set to begin in the US District Court in New York today.
Coke has pleaded guilty to racketeering, conspiracy and conspiracy to commit assault in aid of racketeering in the United States.
He was originally facing drug related charges but he later entered into a plea agreement with the US government.
Coke is facing up to 23 years in prison, however, in a court filing in March prosecutors said they were would settle for an 18-year sentence.
At that time, Judge Robert Patterson upheld a request from Coke’s defence team for the prosecution to provide evidence of the atrocities it has accused Coke of committing.
Legal experts said this decision by the judge suggests he wanted to ensure that a decision to impose the maximum sentence would be just.
Last September, Coke wrote a seven-page letter to Judge Patterson accepting responsibility for his actions and asking the judge to sentence him below the guideline.
After a nine-month wrangling between the US and Jamaican governments, Coke was arrested in June 2010, following a major operation in May to execute a warrant on him.
More than 70 people were killed in the operation.