Archive for the ‘Drugs’ Tag

Buju – guilty or not guilty?

Buju at the start of his re-trial, photo by Paul Henry

I keep looking for the result - but if the jury couldn’t decide last time, things are more hopeful for Buju this time round.

Also, the fact he just won a grammy is a good sign.

The rasta drums must be working their magic, but still could go either way for him yet.

If he gets off, let’s hope it gets him off the drugs, away from cocaine for good.

I do like his music, but haven’t heard the new album.  I like this one, Mr Nine about the guns, he sings it so sweet.

When I met him one time, i couldn’t believe how lucid and intelligent he was whilst red eyed from the weed.

 

Drug Bust After Dudus

I think this is interesting.

There has been a drug bust – 1,000 pounds of marijuana discovered at the West Kingston port – Port Bustamante.  There is much scope for a closer look at the port, now that things are supposed to be running above board, after allegations that drug gangs use this port for the export of marijuana and to import illegal guns.  There have been many past incidents including this one.

Kingston Wharf

Access to the port, undetected, would of course contribute to the success of drug gangs operating out of Jamaica.   It would explain the power behind some of the dons in Tivoli Gardens – like Jim Brown, the father of Christopher Coke.

I heard a rumour that there are fields in agricultural areas of Jamaica which are entirely devoted to the growing of marijuana.  It would be good to talk to some of the people who were arrested in last month’s drug bust and currently on bail to shed some light on this.  As well as get the opinion of the new  Chair of Kingston Wharves. Maybe stick with some of the detectives in the Trans national Crime and Narcotic division for a week and also at the Customs dept.

That would be interesting.

Vivian Blake is dead

Ode to JLP gunmen, Tivoli Gardens Photo by Gorney66

The convicted drug boss and reported head of the ‘shower posse’, Vivian Blake has died.   He came back to Jamaica last year after spending 8 years in a US jail for his leading role in a drugs gang which is thought to have been responsible for over a thousand murders.

I have written about him on this blog before click here

In that post, I write about Blake saying that he was afraid for his life and that he thought the politicians wanted him dead.  All Jamaican newspapers are reporting that Blake died from an illness – read what they say here and here. Blake’s own lawyer says he had kidney disease and was on dialysis but he was admitted into hospital the day before his death following a heart attack.

All I would like to add is that this death is all the more relevant right now as Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke is facing an extradition order – which the Jamaican government is refusing to comply with.   Read more on that here.

There are many similarities between the two don men, Blake and Dudus, both from Tivoli Gardens in Kingston (the Prime Minister’s own constituency), both high profile criminals with money, power – political influence and secrets.  Dudus is the current leader of the same shower posse according to AP.

Just how is the Dudus situation going to end and will the truth about the relationship between Jamaica’s dons and politicians ever come out?

Buju Banton denies the drugs charge

Photo by Soul Brother/ FilmMagic

Buju Banton was charged in Miami for trying to buy 5kg of cocaine from an undercover police.

Buju’s attorney is denying the charges on his behalf but Buju is looking at very serious charges indeed.  He could get up to 20 years in prison if he gets convicted for trying to deal those drugs.

The Drug Enforcement Administration in the US, said that Buju was arrested on a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute the drugs.

He’s still in custody at the moment according to latest reports.

The Gleaner reports that he was wearing a beige jail jumpsuit and his dreads were tied back.  He’s accused with two other people.

His supporters are calling it a fix – up, details of what happened are up on the LATimes blog. They print some interesting details about how Buju arrived in a car with a “Jah One” license plate and how the negotiations for the cocaine started in a restaurant and more details here on MTV.

It looks bad bad bad for Buju.  UPDATE – he was in court yesterday and pleaded not guilty again in Tampa, he did not ask for bail as he will be detained on immigration if he does that.

Jamaica is on Obama’s drug list

Barack Obama’s address to Congress sees four Caribbean countries, including Jamaica as among the world’s top drug-transit and illicit drug-producing nations.

The list is the same as before – with others including the Bahamas and Haiti among 20 countries with those designations in 2009.   The others include the Dominican Republic, Afghanistan, Bolivia, Brazil,  Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela.

In reality, this means that when you see those small planes landing and taking off on the small airstrips like at Bascobel, you gotta think drugs.  When you go out on the docks at Kingston wharf and see all those crates, you’ve gotta think drugs (and guns) and even small boats like these guys who got caught with marijuana in a rowing boat.   Desperate times, desperate measure.

The Dudus Connection

dudus2

Dudus - photo Sunday Herald

Things are starting to unravel in Jamaica, as the drug money link between dons and politicians,  starts to get the media attention it deserves.

The United States want Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke – the notorious don man of Tivoli Gardens, West Kingston for trafficking drugs and guns.   But will the ruling Jamaica Labour Party give him up?

The connections are many.   They are outlined here and include,

a construction company called Incomparable Enterprises, where Dudus is a partner was awarded three govt contracts by the JLP valued at $ US  400 thousand.

Another contract worth a $US 150,000 contract, was given to transport materials to Riverton City landfill.

Dudus heads up the entertainment company Presidential Click which organises the very popular Champions In Action event.

Police say that Dudus also owns several residences, including this house in Plantation Heights, Red Hills, St Andrew.

This is Dudus's house in Red Hills

This is Dudus's house in Red Hills- looks real nice

This house is a far cry from the living conditions of the residents of Tivoli Gardens, people are said to fear him and love him.  I’ve written more about passa passa in this blog post - a dance he keeps which is not subject to the 2am noise laws.

Living conditions in Tivoli are not so lavish

Conditions in Tivoli are not so lavish- photo by miss patricia

The former national security minister – Peter Phillips from the opposition Peoples’ National Party has spoken up on the issue, predictably saying the government should give Dudus to the Americans.

So what’s stopping them?  Dudus’s money has bought him alot of power in the JLP, will it be enough to protect him?

Find out more – http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/p007qzzk

They want Dudus

Tivoli Gardens at night

Photo by Seen -- Tivoli Gardens at night

The notorious Tivoli Gardens Don Man, Dudus, who lives not in that ghetto, but in the luxury of upper St Andrews.  He’s now wanted by the US government who are reported to be filing extradition papers.  They want him for  drug trafficking.

I’ve written about Dudus on this blog before – see some more background on him in this post, and also this post.

Dudus’s father was Lester Lloyd Coke aka Jim Brown – now dead, he was also wanted by the US authorities in 1988 who accused him of running a multi million dollar drug ring known as the shower posse; so named for spraying showers of bullets in over a 1,000 alleged murders. Read all about Jim Brown here.

Could this be a classic case of like father like son?

Perhaps so, but with the war on drugs and the need to get those higher up the chain behind bars, getting Dudus may well be a good catch for the US.

As I was reading about Dudus’s father, I found that the man who was said to be the brains behind his whole operation (Vivian Blake) is now out of US prison and back in Jamaica – god I bet he’s got some stories to tell. Where that guy at?

Nelson’s answer to crime

Poster from Freestylee

Poster from Freestylee

If I had the job of solving Jamaica’s crime problem, I would not be spending money that Jamaica does not have, to buy cars for the (largely corrupt) police.

But that is what the new National Security minister, Dwight Nelson is doing.

He’s been in the job for three weeks and has listed his priorities for dealing with a crazy crime rate, see JA’s murder figures in this blog post. And here’s another post I wrote about the jump in robberies.

dwight nelsonTo be fair to the man, he also says he is going to talk to ordinary Jamaicans and ask them what to do – a good starting point, but rather than go into the communities where they live and seeing the reality first hand, he’s meeting people in a new “civic centre” in MoBay.

More police are required yes, (a 1 to 300 ratio is not great), but training them and rooting out corruption and getting a justice system that works is key – rather than investing in some state of the art forensics lab – most people know who did the shooting Nelson – it’s just they don’t want to tell the police.

It’s an inside job

In a recent post, I was talking about the growth in drugs going through the airports within a harsher economic climate, the drugs business is reported to be flourishing. Read that post here.

Now the US state department has released a report on how corruption is undermining efforts at drug control. Read the 2009 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report with regards to Jamaica here ….

What I was saying before was how at the airports, it’s because there’s somebody working there as to why the narcotics are getting through and this report not only confirms that, but that the corruption goes much further and efforts to tackle this are not going anywhere.

The Jamaican government could hurry up and set up a national corruption agency, but it’s stuck in the system – a bill to appoint a  Special Prosecutor to try these crimes remains a bill in Parliament despite the Government’s legislative majority.  Why is that?

Could it be that the government itself is paralysed by corruption perhaps?

Jamaica’s drug economy

airpoirtThere’s a TV programme on UK cable, called UK Border Force which is a reality show that shows the people caught at UK airports with drugs in their bags or on immigration violations.  I was talking to a friend about how people on there must be crazy to attempt it, knowing how tight security at airports is nowadays.  One man on the programme was carrying drugs on his body and was carrying a false passport – now he might be extremely stupid but it’s much more likely that he was doing it under duress and was actually just extremely desperate.

So it seems is the case for more people now that the economy is under great strain in Jamaica.  A senior Jamaican policeman – Carlton Wilson tells the Sunday Gleaner how he thinks that,

Drug-smuggling is a lucrative business and with the economic meltdown, more couriers are trying to move drugs out in small portions

see full article

It certainly does follow common sense that desperate times lead to people taking desperate measures, but a while back now I did a report on when the hugely sensitive ion scanners were put in at Norman Manley airport – they were an effective deterrent, but one of the latest seizures involved an accomplice at the airport.  With the economic situation as it is, the capacity for airport bribery is surely much more pronounced.

Always interesting to hear from people who feel these measures might persuade them to take what is a reduced risk of getting caught to deliver drugs from A to B.  Life is all about connections and if you know people who can hook you up to earn extra cash this way then it is no wonder that reported cases are rising.

What else is economic desperation leading Jamaican people on the breadline to do?

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