At sentencing hearings for Christopher "Dudus" Coke Tuesday, former Coke gang member Jermaine Cohen said that Coke was a ruthless and violent drug lord who set up his own set of rules and a jail in Kingston, Jamaica, claims that Coke supporters denied. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed this report.
Federal witness Jermaine Cohen described Christopher "Dudus" Coke as a ruthless and violent drug lord with operations in Jamaica, the U.S., Canada and England during testimony at Coke's sentencing hearing Tuesday.
Cohen said Coke controlled Tivoli Gardens in Kingston, Jamaica with his own set of rules and a jail where Cohen said Coke killed or dismembered people who went up against him.
Coke's supporters wasted no time trying to discredit Cohen, who said he was a soldier and then a general in Coke's gang.
"The witness for the government is telling lies," said one Coke supporter.
"The government never corroborated one thing that he said," said Steven Rosen, Coke's attorney. "There are no records from official government registrars in Jamaica."
Coke is facing up to 23 years in prison after pleading guilty to racketeering and conspiracy to commit assault with a weapon.
Prosecutors say he armed his crew with illegal guns bought on the U.S. black market.
On the stand Cohen said Coke brought him into the gang when he was a teen, gave him a gun and told him, "Don't lose this gun or you'll lose your life" and "Don't shoot someone you're not supposed to shoot.''
Cohen spent hours outlining Coke's role as the head of the gang and how he took over the role after his father and brother died.
Cohen also said Coke was closely aligned with two of Jamaica's former Prime Ministers.
Under cross-examination, Rosen tried to paint Cohen as a liar who's trying to get a reduced sentence in his own criminal case. Cohen is facing drug and weapons charges.
"This is all about his credibility and whether he is believable," Rosen said.
More testimony is expected before Coke is sentenced. It's not clear when that will be.