Portrait of a Jamaican Drug Lord
Still on the loose, Christopher "Dudus" Coke is a reputed 'math whiz'
Update: Accused Jamaica drug lord captured!
By David Paulin
Reputed Jamaican drug lord Christopher Michael Coke -- now the Caribbean nation's most wanted man -- was a "math whiz" in high school who startled teachers with his dazzling test scores.
After math, Coke had a second favorite subject: religion.
Coke did poorly in every other subject and had “inconsistent” attendance, according to confidential school records obtained by a Jamaican newspaper. Today, U.S. authorities call Coke -- known as "Dudus" to Jamaicans -- one of the world's most dangerous narcotics kingpins. He's wanted in the U.S. for drug trafficking and arms smuggling.
Coke is no ordinary drug thug, as it turns out. He attended an elite private secondary school in Kingston, Ardenne High School. In 1927, it was founded by an American husband-and-wife missionary team with the Anderson, Ind.-based Church of God. They'd first arrived in Kingston, the capital, in 1909 after it suffered a devastating earthquake. The school's motto: "Deo Duce Quaere Optima" -- "With God As Guide, Seek The Best."
How might the school founded by American missionaries from small-town Indiana have influenced Coke's reputed success in the world of organized crime? Interestingly, Coke was not known as one of Jamaica's typically "flashy" crime lords or "dons" as Jamaicans call them. He was low key: not one to party it up at night clubs with scantily clad women. He avoided the limlight. In a sense, he was not not unlike many denizens of the small towns and rural areas of America's Midwest: places like all-American Anderson, Indiana.
It's also interesting to speculate on whether Coke was immersed in a Protestant work ethic at Ardenne that later helped him in his career in crime; an ethic that sociologist Max Weber contended was part of America's successful "spirit of capitalism.”
Coke's math teacher at Ardenne recalled that "Michael" (the name the boy went by) was a "bright mathematics student" -- a boy who was quiet and well-behaved during the five years he taught him. Recently, the veteran teacher told a Jamaican newspaper that he had often wondered what happened to the gifted Michael Coke after he'd graduated, believing the boy "had all ingredients" for success.
It was not until years after Coke graduated that the teacher learned that his gifted student was the son of the late Jim Brown, one of Jamaica's most fearsome drug lords. In 1992, Brown died when a fire engulfed his jail cell, just days before he was to be extradited to the U.S. on murder and drug trafficking charges. He allegedly headed the Shower Posse, an international drug gang so named because of the penchant of its gunmen for showering bullets upon rivals and anybody who getting in their way.
Some sons take over the family business and make a shambles out of it. Coke wasn't one of them. Like Michael Corleone in “The Godfather, Coke allegedly took the family business to new levels of success, while simultaneously functioning as a legitimate businessman and “community leader” in West Kingston.
Over the years, he obtained many government contracts for things like road work and construction, which allowed him to distribute jobs in the gritty area that he ruled. He staged a popular weekly street dance and a "dancehall" event. His stronghold in the Tivoli Gardens area of West Kingston is part of a so-called "garrison community" -- a mini-state within a state that has links to Jamaica's ruling and center-right Jamaica Labor Party. Other such “garrisons” have ties to the left-leaning People's National Party.
Go to The American Thinker for the rest of this article, which was originally published on Sunday, June 20, 2010. (Photo is from the Jamaica Observer.)