HAITI: GUY “EL CHAPO” PHIILIPE, THE COMMANDANTE AND THE HAITIAN COCAINE CONNECTION:

 

 

                                          picture Guy Phillipe campaigning with partner president Jovenel Moise

 

A SPECIAL INVESTIGATION

BY OMEGAWORLDNEWS

 

HAITI: GUY “EL CHAPO” PHIILIPE, THE COMMANDANTE AND THE HAITIAN COCAINE CONNECTION:

 

As a young man, he dreamed of becoming president of Haiti one day. He often told his childhood friends he would be president of the first independent black republic in the world. As a leader, he espoused a particular disdain for the Haitian bourgeoisie, commonly known as the “Haitian merchant class” whom he believes to be an oppressing force against most Haitians. For some Haitians from the Northern part of Haiti (Cap-Haitian); Delmas (where he was the chief of police); Grande Anse (where he was elected senator), Guy Philippe is a hero; a sort of Robin Hood. But to the United States Justice Department, and agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), he is just one of many Haitian officials who used their position to distribute cocaine.

 

Earlier this week, Guy Philippe, 49 years old, pled guilty before Cecilia M. Altonaga, a Federal Judge in Miami to conspiracy to distribute cocaine, money laundering and for receiving between 1.5 to 3.5 million dollars in the form of bribes between 1999 and 2003.  Philippe is facing between 15 to 25 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 5, 2017. He will join the ranks of a long line of co-conspirators (Haitians, Columbians, and Dominicans) who are currently serving sentences ranging from 10-20 to life years in federal prisons in Connecticut, Miami, Arkansas, and Georgia for drug trafficking.

 

THE COMMANDANTE GROUP

 

Guy Philippe joined the Haitian army just before Aristide became president under the tutelage of Raynald Saint Pierre, another drug kingpin convicted in 2010 of drug trafficking, and served time in federal prison in Miami.  In 1998 allegedly Guy Philippe, Didier Seide, Jacky Nau, and Antoine Saint Surin aka the “Commandante” returned to Haiti from Ecuador shortly after the Clinton administration brought Aristide back to Haiti and sent military strongman, Raoul Cedras into exile in Panama. The group was promptly advised by President Aristide that the Haitian military was no more. Young and ambitious, they settled for positions like Chief of Police (Commissariat) in certain key locations in Haiti. Guy Philippe served in Delmas, near Port-Au-Prince, and Cap Haitian. Others served in similar positions in other cities such as Leogane.

 

Antoine Saint Surin aka ” The Commandante” became the Chief of Police in Port-Au-Prince in 1999.  His old friend Raynald Saint Pierre, ten years his senior, was a former officer of the Haitian military who had been involved in drug trafficking years before Saint Surin met him. Saint Pierre trained and introduced Saint Surin to several drug lords from Ecuador and Colombia. The five of them, with the assistance of others, put together a cocaine distribution chain called “The Commandante Group” operating in Columbia, Haiti, Bahamas and the United States.  According to our sources, in 2001, Antoine Saint Surin recruited Guy Philippe, Didier Seide, and Jacky Nau and other police officers into the “Commandante Group.”  From 1999 to about 2009 the group transported hundreds of thousands of kilos of cocaine to the United States.

 

The “Commandante” operation was simple. Colombian drug lords would advance thousands of kilos of cocaine to Haitian and Dominican drug dealers directly from Medellin drug cartels. To transport the drug undetected, they needed a safe place to land small airplanes. Route 9 in Haiti and other remote roadways became landing runways for drug cargoes. The police chiefs in charge of these locations and other police officers would be paid either with cocaine (normally three to five kilos depending on the number of kilos per shipment) if they required payment as soon as the plane landed, or cash when the money returned to Haiti from the cocaine’s final destination. Colombian drug lords would send a representative in Haiti whose job was to confirm each shipment and assure that everyone played by the rules. There were seven people from the group who were responsible for shipments from Haiti to the United States.

 

Guy Philippe was not selling cocaine directly, but as the police chief, he was charged with the security of the country.  He sold his integrity and shirked his responsibilities for millions of dollars. The money he used to purchase houses in Florida, Dominican Republic, and Haiti.  According to our sources (one of his co-conspirators), and contrary to what the US prosecutor in Miami said, Philippe pocketed more than 10 million dollars in bribes between 1999 and 2005. Saint Surin whose assets were seized by the US government is estimated to have made nearly 50 million dollars in drug money between 1999 and 2008.

 

THE HAITIAN COCAINE CONNECTION

 

Responsible for distribution of cocaine and collection of money in Miami and New York were two men: Michel Arman and Lyonel Sejour.  In 2002, both Armand and Sejour were arrested for drug trafficking, convicted, and sentenced to 20 years each in federal prison; the group needed other foot soldiers who could move large quantities of cocaine to the United States and collect the money without much headache.  According to our sources who worked with both men, neither of them cooperated with the DEA. They are currently in an Arkansas federal prison. A few months after Lyonel and Arman were arrested, two men who shall remain nameless joined the group.  One operated in New York using real estate transactions to help launder the drug money, and the other in North Miami. Parallel drug investigations by the DEA led to the arrest of both men in 2008. They were convicted and are currently serving a 20-year sentence in federal prison.

 

From 2002 to at least 2009 Raynald Saint Pierre was at the top of the group, followed by Fernand Saint-Surin, Guy Philippe, Didier Seide and Jacky Nau. The DEA began investigating the “commandante group” in early 2001 when a shipment of cocaine from Haiti was discovered in a vessel owned by a Haitian businessman in Miami, Florida. The arrest of Armand and Sejour did not bear much fruit, but subsequent arrests of others led to the arrest of Raynald Saint Pierre in 2007.  Mr. Saint Pierre pled guilty and cooperated with the DEA identifying Fernand Saint Surin aka the “Commandante” as the ringleader of the group.

 

With the assistance of Raynald Saint Pierre, the DEA arrested Fernand Saint Surin in Ecuador in 2009. He was brought to Miami, Florida and charged with 12 counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. However, according to our sources, and the court file in the matter of United States v. Saint-Surin,  Saint-Surin, and Saint Pierre apparently had the same attorney), an apparent conflict of interest. On the onset, Saint Surin did not know that Saint Pierre was cooperating with the government because both were being represented by the same lawyer. According to our sources, Saint Surin claimed that he never actually pled guilty. Allegedly according to his testimony,his attorney practically forged his name on a plea agreement to protect Saint Pierre who referred the attorney to him once he arrived in Miami from Ecuador.  Though the Judge allowed Saint Surin to choose another attorney, he did not allow him to withdraw his plea. Saint Surin’s earlier plea stood, and he was then sentenced to 15 years in prison. His conviction was affirmed by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and he is currently in a federal prison in Florida.

 

Meanwhile, Saint Pierre’s cooperation with the DEA revealed the names of several people including Guy Philippe. For reasons discussed in prior articles, Guy Philippe was indicted in 2005 as part of the Saint Surin indictment but was not arrested until earlier this year (2017). But, all the while he had to know that Saint Pierre cooperated with the U.S. government in return for a light sentence, and it was a matter of time before the DEA got to him. Philippe had other reasons to believe that he would not be arrested mainly because a few years earlier, allegedly  the CIA used his services as head of the Northern Army in an apparent of destabilization of the Aristide government by providing him with vehicles and weapons.

 

Raynald Saint Pierre is known as an old Haitian gangster whose name is associated with several kidnappings and murders in Haiti.  According to a source who served time with Saint Pierre in a Miami prison, Saint Pierre used a cell phone to loan 2 million dollars to Clifford Brandt. Allegedly the Brandt family had been under financial pressure for several years. Father Brandt had been imprisoned albeit shortly, by President Rene Preval for tax evasion, a laughable charge because most business people in Haiti do not pay taxes.  The Brandt family has had a long business relationship with Robert Moscoso the owner of SOGEBANK, and the 2 million dollars borrowed from Saint Pierre was used in a joint venture according to rumors with the Moscoso.

 

THE LIST OF CO-CONSPIRATORS: According to our sources, Guy Philippe, who is cooperating with the U.S. government allegedly provided Federal authorities with a list of people who were involved in his criminal enterprise either directly or indirectly. These people include current Haitian president Jovenel Moise, his senior advisor Wilson Laleau; former Haitian President Michel Martelly and his son Olivier Martelly, a current Haitian Senator Ralph Fethiere, a former Haitian Prime Minister Evans Paul; Kiko St. Remy, the brother-in-law of former Haitian President Martelly; Ronald Nelson, Gilbert Dragon, Jacky Nau, Didier Seide, Goodwork Noel, Robert Bob Manuel, Euchre Luc Joseph, Gabriel Fortune,Jean Renel Sanon, Jean Renel Senatus and Charles Herve Fourcand a former associate of Toto Emmanuel Constant and member of the group FRAP.

 

A CESSPOOL: DRUG MONEY AND POLITICS IN HAITI

Drug money plays a pivotal role in Haitian politics. Drug lords from Colombia, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Ecuador would often donate cash to unsuspected Haitian presidential candidates or a president-elect to carry favor with them. Former President Aristide is alleged to have benefited personally from millions of dollars of drug money during his presidency. Both Rene Preval and Joseph Martelly had allegedly received donations from drug dealers. Those donations are meant to secure the safe passage and distribution of cocaine. In the last thirty years, the Haitian police have not arrested, and no government or administration has prosecuted anyone in Haiti for drug dealings. It was common knowledge within all three governments, Aristide, Preval, and Martelly, that small plane loads of cocaine were landing in different parts of Haiti, but as long as they were receiving their part of the ill-gotten loot, it did not matter where the cocaine was going. The Haitian government is a cesspool of politicians and bureaucrats who make their living either stealing from the government or receiving bribes. President Jovenel Moise, who is accused of money laundering has hired two people who are known to have received bribes – Wilson Laleau his senior advisor and Daniel Joseph, a trusted friend of Guy Philippe whom most likely participated in the commission of many crimes. It is nearly impossible for Haiti to come out of this cycle of corruption and lawlessness. The Judiciary is non-existent; the police force is bought and paid for by drug money. The only solace is to establish an independent foreign body with police power to arrest and prosecute. Such systems have worked very well in places like Salvador, Panama and other South American countries.

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Next Week Our Investigation Will Focus on The Mews Bothers, Fritz and Bernard and their alleged involvement

in providing services to the drug cartels in their privately own dock.

 

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