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Haitian Drug Lord Who Turned Politician Lands Before a U.S. Judge

ISSN:1089-1560
LADB Article ID: 80204
Category/Department: Haiti
Date: 2017-02-09
By: George Rodríguez

A former mercenary leader who was instrumental in toppling a president, who served as a high police official, who became a major drug trafficker and then managed to win a seat in Haiti’s Senate, is now facing justice in the US. For years, Guy Philippe was wanted by the US under charges of drug trafficking and money laundering, but his seclusion in the mountains of Haiti’s southwest, where he had the help of locals, kept him out of the reach of both US and Haitian authorities. In the region of Pestel, his hometown and stronghold, he was seen as a local hero who did the social work that the government has not cared to carry out. Philippe perhaps thought he could live like that indefinitely, but on Jan. 5––after receiving his credential as a senator-elect, having successfully gone through the November 2015 elections, and four days before being sworn-in––he was detained and immediately extradited to the US. For authorities, it was the perfect moment: As a senator-elect, he no longer had the immunity of a candidate, and he had not yet acquired that of an actual legislator. That was time enough for Haiti’s anti-drug trafficking bureau and the country’s judicial police to move in––with the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) standing by.

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