Notorious Haitian Drug Trafficker Guy Philippe Deported By U.S. Government
Philippe is the former police chief of the Haitian city of Cap-Haïtien.
Haitian drug trafficker and alleged coup leader Guy Philippe has been deported by the U.S. government following a four-year legal battle connected to a money laundering charge, ABC News reports.
He was released from prison Sept. 7 and returned to Haiti on Nov. 30.
Philippe, who is the former police chief of the Haitian city of Cap-Haïtien, was accused of leading attacks on law enforcement while living in exile in the Dominican Republic. He also allegedly played a pivotal role in the 2004 rebellion against former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. After being arrested during a public appearance in 2017, Philippe was extradited to the U.S., where he was made to answer for charges of cocaine trafficking conspiracy and money laundering before a federal court in Miami.
He was sentenced to nine years in prison after entering a guilty plea on the charge of money laundering.
Authorities claim Philippe’s high-ranking position with the Haiti National Police allowed him to protect drug shipments in exchange for money. He allegedly received up to $3.5 million in bribes, ABC News reports. There are concerns about what Philippe’s return to the reportedly gang-controlled country will mean for Haiti. There are mounting fears around the potential escalation of violence.
“One would have to wait and see what his return means, if anything at all,” Alex Dupuy, a Haiti-born sociologist and former professor at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., told ABC News. “He’s not going to be necessarily the principal actor in the drama that’s going on in Haiti and the awful political situation.”
The U.S. government’s choice to return Philippe to Haiti amid ongoing tensions between gangs and political leaders could move power away from the former coup leader, according to Robert Fatton, a Haitian politics expert and professor at the University of Virginia.
“Whether those kinds of ties will be revised, it’s not clear. What is very clear is that Guy Philippe has always seen himself as some sort of a messianic figure who should lead Haiti,” Fatton said.