Coke Extradition Leads to Bloody Battle

Earlier this month, it was publicly announced that Dorothy Lightbourne, Jamaica’s Justice Minister and Attorney General, was to sign an August 2009 request by the United States government pertaining to the extradition of Christopher Coke. Coke is wanted in the U.S. on charges of both drugs and arms trafficking.

Since that time Jamaican authorities have faced an armed stand-off in a West Kingston neighborhood, as part of their search for Coke. Currently the death toll from that stand off stands at 74 people, showing how costly the execution of the extradition request has been.

Extradition refers to the process by which one nation requests the surrender of another for prosecution for a crime. In order for this to occur there must be a signed and enforceable extradition treaty granting authorization for such exchanges to take place.

the U.S. Supreme Court has held that federal agents may enter a foreign country, apprehend a person of a U.S. crime, and return them to the U.S. to stand trial without making a formal extradition request. According to the Supreme Court, such action is constitutional, unless prohibited by an extradition treaty that bars kidnapping.

The United States currently has extradition treaties with more than a hundred countries, including many former colonies of the United Kingdom, that were adopted under the 1931 extradition treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at or at one of the offices listed above.

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