A major Haitian drug defendant who is helping federal agents investigate

alleged trafficking in deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s

administration is expected to plead guilty on cocaine-smuggling charges,

according to sources familiar with the case.

In a plea deal, Jean Eliobert Jasme faces 10 years to life imprisonment, up

to a $4 million fine and an unspecified amount of restitution, according to

the agreement reviewed by The Herald.

His sentencing on Tuesday will be for two drug conspiracy indictments issued

in Miami and New York that allege he moved thousands of kilos of cocaine

during the past decade from Colombia to Haiti. The cocaine was then smuggled

by others into the United States.

”The agreement has been signed,” Jasme’s attorney, Joaquin Fernandez, said

Monday. He said it will be formally filed before U.S. District Judge Marcia

Cooke at the hearing Tuesday in Miami.

A codefendant, Wista Louis, charged with arranging transportation for

cocaine shipments from Haiti to the United States, pleaded guilty Thursday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Loo declined to comment.

No evidence has been presented in federal court implicating Aristide, who is

in South Africa, in the alleged drug-smuggling conspiracy.

The government is building its case in part on the word of convicted drug

smugglers hoping to shave years off their prison terms, as well as

finger-pointing officials targeted in the crackdown.

Since Aristide’s ouster, the Haitian government has been cooperating with

the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in turning over narcotics suspects

and official documents.


Jasme, 42, was expelled a year ago by Aristide under pressure from the DEA.

Also at that time, Aristide expelled two other trafficking suspects: Carlos

Ovalle, a Colombian accused of coordinating cocaine shipments, and Eddy

Aurelien, a former Miami resident and music promoter charged with

distributing crack cocaine.

Ovalle and Aurelian immediately pleaded guilty and started giving extensive

information to federal prosecutors, the DEA and the Florida Department of

Law Enforcement agents.

Their expulsion followed that of Beaudoin ”Jacques” Ketant in June 2003,

who pleaded guilty to smuggling 30 tons of cocaine from Haiti to the United


Ketant is helping federal authorities in order to reduce his sentence. Just

before Aristide’s ouster in late February, a Miami federal judge sentenced

Ketant to 27 years in prison and ordered him to pay $30 million in fines and


Ketant has since told federal investigators that he paid Aristide and his

former head of presidential palace security up to $500,000 a month to let

him land planes loaded with cocaine on a national route near Port-au-Prince.

Seven defendants have been named in recent criminal complaints or

indictments that allege they forced traffickers to pay hundreds of thousands

of dollars to protect their cocaine shipments or were actively involved in

smuggling drugs into the United States.


Four former Haitian law enforcement officials listed in one indictment are

Jean Nesly Lucien, National Police director; Rudy Therassan, National Police

commander; Evintz Brillant, Haitian anti-drug chief, and Romaine Lestin,

former Port-au-Prince airport police commander.

Others in custody are Oriel Jean, Aristide’s former bodyguard; ex-Haitian

Sen. Jean-Marie Fourel Celestin, and Jean Salim Batrony, a reputed drug