KINGSTON, Jamaica -- It's Wednesday night, and reggae music is blaring in Tivoli Gardens, the inner city neighborhood known for dangerous streets that an accused drug baron now keeps clean and safe.
``The president is here!'' the proud disc jockey declared.
By ``president,'' he meant Christopher ``Dudus'' Coke, a man the U.S. Department of Justice considers one of the most dangerous narcotics kingpins in the world.
And he meant a man whose case threatens to topple Prime Minister Bruce Golding, who is under fire for his loyalty to the alleged drug baron.
Thanks to ties to the ruling Labor Party that run deep and strong, Coke is still attending weekly dance parties in the western Kingston neighborhood he controls. He's not in New York, facing the U.S. court that seeks to try him on charges of running cocaine, marijuana and weapons up the eastern seaboard.
After admitting that he played a role in hiring a Los Angeles law firm to lobby the U.S. government on Coke's behalf, Golding hunkered down with advisors late Friday as cries for his resignation grew louder.
Coke ``is the most powerful criminal in Jamaica,'' said Desmond Richards, editor of the Sunday Herald newspaper, which has investigated Coke's government construction contracts. ``He is like a vampire -- these people do not do well under light.''
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