PORTLAND – One of the key players in a Jamaican cocaine-trafficking ring that was operating in Lewiston and other cities on the East Coast has been sentenced to 23 years in prison.

Godfrey Brooks, a 41-year-old reggae singer, was convicted in January of a long list of drug charges. His sentence was handed down Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland.

Brooks was among more than two dozen people snared in a Maine Drug Enforcement roundup that included the arrest of Bates College professor Linda Williams.

According to federal prosecutors, Brooks was one of the men who was supplying cocaine to Williams and working out of her home on Bardwell Street.

A tenured music professor at Bates, Williams was sentenced earlier this year to five years in federal prison for her role in the drug ring.

Brooks faced a much longer sentence because of his prominent position in the international network.

The investigation that has landed Brooks, Williams and several others in federal prison began in December 2002 when a couple was caught in North Carolina after swallowing 500 grams of crack.

Drug agents determined the cocaine was bound for Lewiston, and a massive investigation began.

Police said the leaders of the network, including Brooks, would look for drug addicts in the cities where they settled.

At some point in the summer of 2002, Williams befriended Brooks and two other Jamaican men. She let them live in her house, cook the drugs in her kitchen and use her car for cocaine runs. She also conducted drug deals while they were away.

Police and drug agents raided Williams’ home on April 11, 2003, and arrested several people. The sentences of those involved have ranged from five to 30 years.

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