US citizen fined J$1million for smuggling cash in luggage, forfeiture to follow

On April 28, 2023 the Financial Investigations Division (FID) successfully secured the conviction of a US citizen  in the St James Parish Court for Concealment of Criminal Property and Possession of Criminal Property. The convict, Kenardo Coke, a 30-year-old security guard of a New Jersey address, was fined JMD 500,000 on each offence or 6 months imprisonment.

The conviction follows the seizure of USD 50,400 from Mr. Coke on April 10, 2021 at the Donald Sangster International Airport. A Court hearing is set for June 23, 2023 in respect of forfeiting the cash under Section 79 of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

Keith Darien – Principal Director of Investigations, FID

In commenting on the case, the FID’s Principal Director of Investigation, Keith Darien, noted, “The collaboration with the FID, the JCF and Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) in tackling Money Launderers who try to smuggle ill-gotten gains to our shores must be lauded. I thank our colleagues for their vigilance and dedication.

The decades-long collaboration, have been strategically strengthened by the recent signing of MOUs with various agencies to include FID, JCA, JCF and others. We are demonstrating to everyone that law enforcement agencies are committed to partnering to investigate and prosecute those persons who commit crime and will work assiduously to remove the benefit of such criminality.”

He added, “In this case, the effectiveness of JCA in depriving criminals of their spoils may have prevented the acquisition of illegal arms or incidents of shooting and murders. We must also highlight the efforts of remittance agencies and our local banks in their robust due diligence processes, which make it increasingly difficult to transfer tainted funds.”


On April 10, 2021, officers of the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) seized USD 50,400 from Kenardo Coke, a 30-year-old US citizen of a New Jersey address at the Donald Sangster’s International Airport. The cash was found concealed in women wigs in his luggage.

Following the discovery, a joint investigation commenced with the FID’s Constabulary Financial Unit, the JCF’s Counter Terrorism & Organized Crime Investigations Branch (CTOC) and the JCA.

This resulted in Coke being charged with breaches of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA). The investigations revealed Mr. Coke’s connection to lottery scamming activities based on the discovery of lottery scamming paraphernalia in his possession. It is believed that the cash was the proceeds of that criminal activity.