Haiti: Ex-Coup Leader Busted for Coke Trafficking

Photo by BENAVIDES/AFP/GettyImages

Guy Philippe, a former paramilitary boss and coup leader who was elected to Haiti’s Senate in November, was arrested by the DEA on Jan. 5—just days before he would have been sworn into office and obtained immunity. Philippe had been wanted by the U.S. since 2005 on charges of conspiracy to import cocaine and money laundering.

Philippe was popped by Haitian police and turned over to DEA agents immediately after appearing on a radio show in Port-au-Prince. He was promptly flown to the Miami to stand trial. On Monday, he pleaded not guilty to all charges in U.S. Court for the Southern District of Florida, asserting both that the case against him is politically motivated and that he already has immunity as an elected official.

Disconcertingly, many supporters showed up at the hearing at the Miami federal courthouse, including some pillars of Haiti’s political establishment. Among these were Haitian Senator Evince Francois, who told reporters: “We are here to support Senator Guy Philippe. We all feel like he is innocent. We are here to let him know we stand up behind him. We think this is all politics.”

Philippe is a former military officer and regional commander of Haiti’s National Police who was trained by the U.S. army in the 1990s. His police forces were later accused of extrajudicial killings. He was exiled after taking part in an attempted coup in 2000, and re-emerged as part of the gang, leading the 2004 coup that finally removed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power. As a paramilitary enforcer for the coup gang, he was accused of further rights abuses.

His network also apparently doubled as a cocaine ring and survived the restoration of a semblance of political normalcy to Haiti. U.S. prosecutors say his handpicked collaborators in the National Police provided security for Colombian cocaine shipments as they were transferred to traffickers in Haiti for export to the United States, the Miami Herald reports.

Haiti has never really recovered from the 2004 coup and has faced repeated political crises since then.

The new Haitian Senate, elected in November, was sworn in on Jan. 9, with new president Jovenel Moïse due to take office in February. This tentatively resolves a year of impasse in which elections were put off due to concerns over political violence and unrest. Haiti has been led by an interim president since February 2016, when Michel Martelly stepped down at the end of his term—without a new president having been chosen. Throughout this period, Philippe has been an outspoken voice on Haiti’s hard right, openly calling for repressionagainst protesters.

You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ news right here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts
Read More

New Mexico Cannabis Sales Hit $40 Million in July

New Mexico’s cannabis retailers rang up more than $40 million in regulated cannabis sales in July, a new record for the state since licensed sales of recreational pot began in April.
Read More

NFL Star Aaron Rodgers Used Ayahuasca Before Dual MVP Seasons

Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers revealed on a podcast that he took ayahuasca before winning back-to-back MVP awards, crediting the psychedelic brew with giving him the mindset to play two of the best seasons of his career.
Read More

Study Finds Genetic Link to Effects of Psychedelic Drugs

A new study from researchers at the University of North Carolina has determined that genetic variations in a serotonin receptor may be responsible for the varying effects of psychedelic drugs for different people.