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Jamaica Extends State of Emergency After Capturing Drug Lord

Jamaica extended a state of emergency to contain gang violence after police captured an alleged drug lord and sought to extradite him to the U.S.

“The pressure on the criminal forces in the country is not something that we can afford to slacken in any way,” Prime Minister Bruce Golding said in a speech to parliament late yesterday.

The state of emergency, which was declared May 23 after efforts to extradite Christopher “Dudus” Coke provoked violent street clashes, will last another month, Golding said.

Coke was arrested at a roadside checkpoint and will be handed over to the U.S. within 48 hours, Police Commissioner Owen Ellington told reporters yesterday. Security forces remain on a heightened state of alert for fear of gang reprisals, he said.

At least 74 people were killed when police battled with Coke’s supporters and employees in Kingston, the capital. Jamaica is seeking $1 billion in loans and grants to rid the country of drug gangs that have taken over poor neighborhoods on the Caribbean island and hurt economic growth, Finance Minister Audley Shaw has said.

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