The former head of Haiti’s drug enforcement agency must remain behind bars until he stands trial on drug-smuggling conspiracy charges, a Miami magistrate judge ruled Thursday.
Evintz Brillant, 32, was arrested in Port-au-Prince last week by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents in a broadening investigation into alleged drug-trafficking in the administration of ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Brilliant is accused of soliciting and accepting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from drug traffickers to facilitate shipments of their cocaine through Haiti to the United States.
Allegations of the conspiracy in Haiti’s police department surfaced in 2003 when Brillant was arrested by fellow officers for allowing a Colombian airplane carrying more than 1,000 kilos of cocaine to land on a highway near the capital.
Brilliant, a nine-year veteran of the police department, was fired from his drug enforcement job in February 2003.
His lawyer, Howard Schumacher, argued Thursday that Brillant should be eligible for bail because of his law enforcement career and family ties in Miami.
Magistrate Judge Theodore Klein rejected the request, saying the criminal complaint shows “he abused his position.”
Brilliant is among four ex-officials in Aristide’s former administration who have been arrested on drug-conspiracy charges. A former pro-Aristide senator, Fourel Celestin, was also arrested Tuesday as part of the widening federal investigation.
So far, no evidence has been presented in court that links the alleged corrupt network to Aristide himself. He is in exile in South Africa.
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