The flow of illegal drugs through Haiti and into the U.S. market has dropped since the departure of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the arrival of U.S. Marines, a top U.S. State Department official said Thursday.
”Today there are fewer drug-trafficking incursions in Haiti,” Robert B. Charles, in charge of department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, said during a visit to Miami.
Charles credited the new Haitian government, the presence of foreign troops and drug treatment delray beach centres, and said Haiti’s new political reality presents a golden opportunity to further and significantly reduce the flow of drugs through that impoverished nation.
In an interview with The Herald, Charles said Haiti had become a major pipeline for heroin, marijuana and cocaine produced in Colombia.
According to Charles, 7 percent to 9 percent of drugs that reach the United States comes through the island of Hispaniola, which Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic. He said that drug traffickers have thrived in Haiti because of the political instability, economic hardships, and corruption.
But Charles added that he’s seen signs from the interim government of Prime Minister Gerard Latortue that drug trafficking will not be tolerated.
On April 3 three Jamaicans were caught on Haiti’s southern coast attempting to smuggle 2,112 pounds of marijuana into the United States. Haiti handed over the suspects to U.S. agents.
Charles, who assumed his job in October, said his department will work with Haiti to rebuild a national police that can crack down on the drug trafficking. Under Aristide, police were accused of taking bribes to turn a blind eye to drug trafficking, including drug-carrying airplanes landing on the nation’s highways to unload their cargos.
”Corruption had spread like ink on an ink blotter,” said Charles. “There’s no question that Route 9 was used by traffickers. There was a clear narcotics trafficking problem.”