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Extraditions up

Published:Thursday | April 15, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Eighteen Jamaicans, including two women, were extradited last year, even as the Bruce Golding administration tussled with the United States government over its extradition request for west Kingston strongman Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.

Official data show 15 people were extradited to the US, two to Canada, while one person was sent to England to answer charges.

In 2008, a total of 14 people, including two women, were extradited.

Of the 18 people extradited last year, 10 were wanted overseas for narcotics charges, five to answer murder charges, two for fraud, and one for first-degree assault.

However, the administration has refused to sign the extradition request for Coke, who has been interdicted in the US on drugs and firearm charges.

Golding has argued that the extradition request for Coke was unusual, as the American authorities are depending on wiretapped information that is inadmissible in a local court because it was illegally provided to them.

The prime minister has claimed that the justice minister cannot sign the extradition warrant based on what has so far been presented by the Americans.

However, Washington has rejected this position and has urged the Government to place the matter before the court.

Seeking declaration

According to Golding, Justice Minister Dorothy Lightbourne will be seeking a declaration from the court on whether she has the authority to refuse to sign the extradition request for Coke in the present circumstances.

And even as the impasse drags on, Lightbourne is proceeding with other extradition requests.

On Tuesday, 50-year-old Mark Antonio Clarke, a musician of Parks Road, St Andrew, was arrested by the Fugitive Apprehension Team (FAT) on an extradition request.

The police reported that about 5:15 Tuesday morning, an operation was carried out on Parks Road by members of the FAT, the Flying Squad and the Mobile Reserve.

During the operation, Clarke, who is wanted in the United States for narcotics offences, was arrested.

According to the allegations, Clarke was a member of a drug-trafficking organisation which distributed large quantities of marijuana in East St Louis and Illinois during 2004 and 2008.

Clarke reportedly fled the US to Jamaica in May 2008.

He is to appear in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court today for an extradition hearing.