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U.S. judge sentences Jamaican druglord to 23 years in prison


NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge
on Friday sentenced Jamaican drug
lord Christopher ?Dudus' Coke to 23
years in prison, ending a long
struggle by U.S. authorities to lock up
a powerful figure who had evaded capture with the aid of Jamaican
authorities. Coke, 43, was given the maximum
sentence following a deal in which he
pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and
assault charges. Coke, wearing a gray prison jumpsuit,
sat stoically through most of Friday's
proceedings in U.S. District Court in
Manhattan, but spoke briefly before
Judge Robert Patterson. "I am a good person," Coke said in
asking the judge for consideration of
what he said were the positive things
he had done in his native Jamaica. Patterson, however, chose to give
Coke the maximum allowable
sentence - 20 years on the trafficking
charge and three on the assault - and
have them run consecutively. Coke's attorney, Stephen Rosen, said
he was disappointed that Patterson
did not allow the sentences to run
concurrently, but added they would
not appeal the sentence. Rosen
estimated that Coke would be eligible for release around the time he is 60,
and will be allowed then to return to
Jamaica. (Additional reporting by Chris
Francesconi; Editing by Sandra Maler)