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Former Haitian Rebel Leader Admits Taking Millions From Drug Smugglers GUY PHILIPPE HAS BEEN JAILED FOR NINE YEARS.
Former Haitian coup leader and senior police officer Guy Philippe is set to begin a nine-year jail term in the United States after being sentenced on a drug-related, money laundering conspiracy charge.
US District Judge Cecilia Altonaga handed down the ruling on 49-year-old Philippe who was arrested in Haiti in January just days before being sworn in as a senator, which would have given him immunity from prosecution.
After initially pleading not guilty, he changed his tune in April and reached a plea deal with prosecutors to avoid the possibility of life in prison.
Philippe confessed that he accepted between $1.5 million and $3.5 million in cocaine profits from Colombian traffickers for allowing them to use Haiti to ship cocaine to Miami and other parts of the United States between 1999 and 2003.
According to a statement filed with his plea deal, Philippe admitted that he not only shared the bribes from narco-traffickers with fellow officers in the Haitian National Police, but he also wired hundreds of thousands of dollars to the United States to buy a home in Broward County and support his family.
Philippe wired $376,000 from banks in Haiti and Ecuador to a joint account with his wife, Natalie, at First Union in Miami.
To avoid detection, he used the names of others to wire the funds to his account.
Philippe also admitted that he deposited more than $70,000 into his account in a series of transactions of less than $10,000 to avoid federal reporting requirements.
Four months after declaring he was innocent of drug trafficking and money laundering charges, former Haitian coup leader Guy Philippe has confessed to the crimes.
Under a deal that could save him from spending the rest of life behind bars, the notorious former senior police officer pleaded guilty in a court in Florida to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. A drug trafficking charge was dropped.
Philippe, 49, will be sentenced on July 5.
The former high-ranking police commander in the city of Cap-Haitien admitted that he accepted millions of dollars in bribe money from drug smugglers. Prosecutors say Philippe and other police officers took the money in exchange for ensuring safe passage for cocaine shipments from Colombia and other countries that went through Haiti on their way to Miami and other US destinations.
“Philippe cast aside his duty to protect and serve the people of Haiti,” Acting US Attorney Benjamin Greenberg said. “He abused his position of authority as a high-ranking Haitian National Police officer to safeguard drug shipments and launder illicit trafficking proceeds.”
According to admissions made in connection with the plea, from the late 1990s, Philippe knowingly using his position as a high-ranking Haitian National Police Officer to provide protection for the shipments of drugs and drug proceeds arriving into Haiti in exchange for cash payments.
He admitted that from approximately June 1999 to April 2003, he received between US$1.5 and US$3.5 million in bribes from drug traffickers, knowing that the payments he received constituted proceeds of cocaine sales that occurred in Miami, Florida, and elsewhere in the United States.
Philippe also admitted that he shared a portion of these payments with Haitian National Police officials and other security personnel to ensure their continued support for future drug shipments arriving into Haiti. He then used these payments to purchase a home in Broward County, Florida, and to support himself as well as his family in the United States.
In addition, Philippe wired proceeds derived from the sale of cocaine, in the amount of US$376,000, from banks in Haiti and Ecuador to a joint bank account in Miami.
To avoid detection, he used the names of others to wire the funds to his account. Philippe further admitted that he arranged for over US$70,000 in drug proceeds to be deposited into his account that were conducted in a series of deposits, each less than US$10,000, to avoid US federal reporting requirements.
Philippe led a 2004 Haitian uprising that ousted then President Jean-Bertrand, Aristide and was indicted along with several others on US drug charges in 2005. He managed to elude capture for more than a decade, including at least 10 attempts to arrest him in Haiti that involved a military operation and a foot chase through the countryside.
Philippe was elected to the Haitian Senate in November but was arrested in the capital, Port-au-Prince, in January.