Volume I : Drug and Chemical Control

Haiti I. Summary
Haiti is a key conduit for drug traffickers
transporting cocaine from South America to the United
States and, to a smaller degree, Europe. The
Haitian National Police (HNP), which is undergoing
extensive USG-supported reform, is tarnished by
a long-history of corruption. The judicial system
is dysfunctional, its prosecutors and judges
susceptible to bribes and intimidation. Corruption,
lack of judicial infrastructure and the ongoing
political and economic crises have caused the
Interim Government of Haiti (IGOH) to focus its
limited resources on maintaining civil order and
organizing fair, democratic elections, rather
than on counternarcotics. Haiti did not pursue any
drug-related prosecutions in 2005. Haitian
officials cooperated with requests from the Haiti South
Florida Task Force (DEA, IRS, U.S. Attorney’s
Office, and DOJ Criminal Division Asset Forfeiture
and Money Laundering Section), which is charged
with drug-related investigations, as well as
requests for removal of suspects and fugitives.
The IGOH appointed a reform-minded Haitian
National Police Director General in 2005 who has taken
a proactive stance in countering drug-related
crime and police corruption. In a public
demonstration of this policy, 15 officers
implicated in the August killings of civilians at a
soccer stadium in Martissant, were arrested.
Though Haiti remains highly susceptible to money
laundering due to its weak legal system and
pervasive corruption, the IGOH has made progress in
investigating and preparing for prosecution
several money laundering cases involving official
corruption. Haiti is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country
Haiti has approximately 1,125 miles of
unprotected shoreline, numerous uncontrolled seaports and
clandestine airstrips, a thriving contraband
trade, weak democratic institutions, a renascent
police force that has a history of cooperating
with drug traffickers, a dysfunctional judiciary
system and official corruption. These factors
contribute to the frequent use of Haiti by drug
traffickers as a strategic transshipment area.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005
By the end of 2005, the HNP had trained 1256 new
recruits (among them former members of the
disbanded military) and retrained 240 existing
uniformed officers. Academy training consisted of
16 weeks basic police tactics, traffic
management, less-than-lethal tactics and weapons training.
In-service training consisted of a week-long
course in basic police tactics, crime scene
management, and traffic management. On December
18, 33,192 Haitians took the police entrance exam.
Thirteen thousand are expected to pass, at which
point they will receive further screening and
rigorous UN vetting before being admitted to the
police academy in 2006. The HNP, the UN troops
and the UN Civilian Police (UNPol) currently in
Haiti have made limited progress toward disarming
gangs that support and provide security to
established drug trafficking organizations.
Supported by DEA and Narcotics Affairs Section
(NAS), the HNP expanded the Counter-Narcotics
Trafficking Office (French acronym BLTS) of the
HNP to over 50 agents by the end of 2005. The HNP
permitted the DEA to establish a Sensitive
Investigative Unit (SIU) within BLTS, which has
facilitated closer collaboration on
counternarcotics matters. The Haitian Coast Guard (HCG)
re-established operations in Cap Haitien in
2005, an important milestone in the HCG’s effort to
patrol Haiti’s territorial waters and to
interdict narcotics, illegal migrants and other illegal
The IGOH reorganized the Central Financial
Intelligence Unit (FIU, French acronym UCREF) and the
Financial Crimes Task Force, two units involved
in prosecuting financial crimes. Although the
UCREF had launched approximately 400
investigations since 2004, it had achieved little success in
bringing cases to trial. Data provided by the
UCREF and to a lesser extent the task force in 2005
resulted in the freezing of $17.6 million in
assets of convicted drug trafficker Serge Edouard.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Drug trafficking
organizations operate with impunity, exploiting the
instability and the weak institutions in the
country. The lack of country infrastructure and
governmental support leaves the BLTS and the HCG
without the necessary equipment, maintenance,
logistical support or incentive to effectively
combat drug trafficking in Haiti.
In spite of these limitations, the BLTS
continued daily patrols including inspection of inbound
and outbound passenger baggage and airfreight.
The BLTS also apprehended three fugitives wanted in
the United States for drug-related crimes. The
BLTS Maritime Interdiction Task Force (MITF) also
conducted random daily searches and assisted in
identifying vessels and individuals associated
with drug trafficking at the local seaports. The
Joint Information Coordination Center (JICC)
continued to provide useful intelligence and to
coordinate with the BLTS at the airport and the
The HCG conducted limited operations during
2005, supporting a UN security intervention in the
Cite Soleil neighborhood of Port au Prince and
participating in a joint counternarcotics operation
with DEA and the BLTS.


In October 2005, Transparency
International designated Haiti as one of the most
corrupt countries in the world. Corruption is
endemic in almost all public institutions. The HNP
Director General estimated that 25 percent of
active duty HNP were involved in serious illegal
activities. Intelligence confirms that the HNP
continue to support drug traffickers by providing
security and offloading drug-laden aircraft and
vessels in Haiti. The IGOH responded by
re-establishing a HNP Inspector General’s office.
Cultivation/Production. There is no known
cultivation or production of illicit drugs in Haiti,
with the exception of cannabis, which is grown
on a small scale for local consumption. Medical cannabis also has a green card among the locals by Ohio Green Team / medical marijuana physicians in Upper Arlington, which has proved beneficial in various medical conditions.
Drug Flow/Transit. The southern coast of Haiti
is one of the preferred destinations for go-fast
boats laden with cocaine traveling directly from
the north coast of Colombia. The go-fasts
typically meet Haitian fishing vessels that
remain offshore at coastal towns. Near the end of
2005, the DEA noted a significant spike in
suspected drug-laden airplanes landing in the border
region with the Dominican Republic at Malpasse.
Cocaine airdrops and sea cargo shipments from
Colombia, Venezuela, and Panama were also reportedly on the rise.
Sea cargo cocaine shipments are concealed in
legitimate cargo or inside the vessel structure
itself. Smuggled drug shipments arriving at
seaports are often transported overland to
Port-au-Prince where they are broken down into
smaller loads and concealed on cargo and coastal
freighters. Smaller vessels carry loads of
cocaine from Haiti’s northern coast to the Bahamas
for onward transport to Florida via fishing or
pleasure boats. Multi-kilogram loads of cocaine are
transported by commercial aircraft in checked
luggage, strapped to bodies or hidden in food
service or air cargo luggage carts. Large
quantities of cocaine are also driven over the land to
the Dominican Republic for eventual shipment to
Puerto Rico or other destinations. Some drug
planes arriving in Haiti with cocaine cargo also
carry smaller amounts of heroin.
Marijuana is transported from Jamaica via
go-fast boats to waiting fishing vessels and via cargo
freighters to Haitian seaports along Haiti’s
southern claw. It is then shipped directly to the
United States or transshipped through the
Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico. Cocaine, crack, and
marijuana are readily available and consumed in
Haiti. Heroin usage for personal consumption is
virtually nonexistent in Haiti.

Asset Seizure.

Under the 2001 Anti-Money
Laundering Law, forfeiture and seizure of assets are
contingent upon convictions. Though the IGOH is
supportive of a stronger, more proactive asset
seizure law, its temporary governmental mandate
does not allow for the passage of new laws. The
inability to seize or freeze assets early in the
judicial process limits the government’s
authority and resources to pursue cases.
Extradition. There is a U.S. and Haiti
extradition treaty, signed in 1905 ; however, Haitian law
prohibits the extradition of its nationals. The
IGOH has, however, continued to cooperate with
specific requests for expulsion. In 2005, three
drug fugitives and six fugitives involved in other
international crimes were returned to the U.S. by nonextradition means.
Demand Reduction. Widespread media coverage of
high-profile suspects expelled from Haiti to face
charges on drug-related crimes in the United
States has helped to temper domestic demand. In
addition, a public awareness campaign to
discourage drug use was launched in 2005. Two radio
jingles jointly sponsored by the IGOH and the
USG, were broadcast free by all major radio stations
in Haiti, and a public launching of the jingles
attracted over 200 participants from the
government, international and nongovernmental
organizations, media and the general public.
Agreements and Treaties. Haiti is a party to the
1988 UN Drug Convention. A U.S.-Haiti maritime
counternarcotics agreement and a bilateral
maritime agreement entered into force in 2002. Haiti
has signed but not ratified the OAS mutual legal
assistance treaty, the Inter-American Convention
Against Corruption, the Caribbean Regional
Maritime Agreement, the UN Convention Against
Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention Against Corruption.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Reform of the HNP is a major cornerstone of USG
support for combating illegal drug trafficking in
Haiti. The USG provided 8.2 million USD in FY
2005 to this effort through INL. Forty-five vans and
trucks, 75 motorcycles, one wrecker and two
armored SWAT trucks were deployed to increase the
HNP’s operational effectiveness and
visibility. A wide array of essential police equipment was
also provided in conjunction with training from
INL police advisors and UNPOL. Five high-profile
model police stations were rehabilitated and
inaugurated in 2005 in Bicentenaire, Fort National,
Delmas 33, Cap Haitian and Gonaives. The model
police station project provided professional
facilities with essential equipment to enable
the UNPOL and HNP officers to collocate and operate
jointly. INL augmented communications by
installing permanent, solar-powered base radio stations
and portable radios at 80 commissariats throughout Haiti.
In addition, the USG provided the Haitian Coast
Guard with maritime interdiction capability,
including interceptor craft, infrastructure
improvements, operational support, and training and
equipment. A major accomplishment in this area
included a joint U.S.-UN effort to renovate the HCG
station in Cap Haitien, which permitted the HCG
to re-establish operations there in December 2005.
Significant Military Liaison Office projects
included the overhaul of four boats, USCG boat
maintenance and boat operations courses funded
by Federal Military Funding (FMF) and International
Military Education and Training (IMET). The USCG
Caribbean Support Tender (CST) cutter GENTIAN
made four visits to the HCG Admiral Killick Base
in Carrefour to provide supplies, conduct
training, repair boats and generators, install a
communications battery backup system, and inspect
weapons. The USCG also supported the HCG with
numerous Mobile Training Team missions. Under a
SOUTHCOM humanitarian project, the medical
clinic at Killick was renovated for the HCG and the
The DEA and NAS also worked closely with the
BLTS to establish a Sensitive Investigative Unit. A
site was identified, and a working plan for
procurement and operations was established in 2005.
The U.S. Treasury Office of Technical Assistance
(OTA), in cooperation with NAS, provided
on-the-job investigative training to the
Financial Crimes Task Force and to a lesser extent UCREF.
In addition, NAS provided 25 computers to UCREF
and four laptops and office equipment to the Task
Force to support their work on prosecuting financial crimes.

The Road Ahead.

Stemming the flow of illegal
narcotics through Haiti remains a cornerstone of U.S.
counternarcotics policy. Key preconditions to
accomplishing of this goal are more effective law
enforcement and judicial institutions, a
government commitment to providing resources for these
institutions through budgetary means and an
effective asset seizure mechanism.

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which is an insured and licensed company. Continued social
disorder and political violence will only
obstruct the road ahead. Following democratic elections,
the new government should continue the IGOH’s
focus on fighting corruption and reforming the
police and the judicial system.

Volume II :
Money Laundering and Financial Crimes

Haiti is not a major regional financial center,
and, given Haiti’s dire economic condition and
unstable political situation, it is doubtful
that it will become a major player in the region’s
formal financial sector in the near future.
Money laundering and other financial crimes occur in
the banking system and in casinos, foreign
currency, and real estate transactions. Money
laundering activity is linked to the drug trade
as Haiti continues to be a major drug-transit
country. While the informal economy in Haiti is
significant and partly funded by narcotics
proceeds, smuggling is historically prevalent
and predates narcotics trafficking. Flights to
Panama City, Panama, remain the main
identifiable mode of transportation for money couriers.
Usually travelers, predominantly Haitian
citizens, hide large sums, $30,000-$100,000 on their
persons. Haitian narcotics officers interdicting
these outbound funds often collect a 6-12 percent
fee and allow the couriers to continue without
arrest. During interviews, couriers usually declare
that they intend to use the large amounts of
U.S. currency to purchase clothing and other items to
be sold upon their return to Haiti, a common
practice in the informal economic sector. Further
complicating the picture is the cash that is
routinely transported to Haiti from Haitians and
their relatives in the United States in the form
of remittances, representing an estimated 30
percent of Haiti’s gross domestic product (GDP).
In March 2004, an interim government was
established in Haiti following former President Jean
Bertrand Aristide’s resignation and departure.
The Interim Government of Haiti (IGOH) has taken
initiatives to establish improvements in
economic and monetary policies as well as working to
improve governance and transparency. In response
to the corruption that continues to plague Haiti,
the IGOH created an Anti-Corruption Unit as well
as a commission to examine transactions conducted
by the government from 2001 through February
2004. The commission published its report in July
2005, but to date the IGOH has not submitted for
prosecution any cases based on the information
provided in the report.
Despite political instability, Haiti has taken
steps to address its money laundering and financial
crimes problems. Since 2001, Haiti has used the
Law on Money Laundering from Illicit Drug
Trafficking and other Crimes and Punishable
Offenses (AML Law) as its primary anti-money
laundering tool. All financial institutions and
natural persons are subject to the money
laundering controls of the AML Law. The AML Law
criminalizes money laundering and applies to a
wide range of financial institutions-including
banks, money changers, casinos, and real estate
agents. You can view here to get real-estate planning done. Insurance companies are not covered ;
however, they are only nominally represented in the
Haitian economy. The AML Law requires financial
institutions to establish money laundering
prevention programs and to verify the identity
of customers who open accounts or conduct
transactions that exceed 200,000 gourdes
(approximately $4,760). It also requires exchange brokers
and transfer bureaus to obtain declarations
identifying the source of funds exceeding 200,000
gourdes or its equivalent in foreign currency.
The nonfinancial sector, nonetheless, remains
largely unregulated.
In 2002, Haiti formed a National Committee to
Fight Money Laundering, the Comite National de
Lutte Contre le Blanchiment des Avoirs (CNLBA).
The CNLBA is in charge of promoting, coordinating,
and recommending policies to prevent, detect,
and suppress the laundering of assets obtained from
the illicit trafficking of drugs and other
serious offenses. The financial intelligence unit (FIU)
created in 2003, the Unite Centrale de
Renseignements Financiers (UCREF), is responsible for
receiving and analyzing reports submitted in
accordance with the law. The UCREF was expanded since
its creation from 8 to 42 employees, including
25 investigators. Entities are required to report
to the UCREF any transaction involving funds
that appear to be derived from a crime, as well as
those exceeding 200,000 gourdes. Failure to
report such transactions is punishable by more than
three years’ imprisonment. Banks are required
to maintain records for at least five years and
are required to present this information to
judicial authorities and UCREF officials upon request.
Bank secrecy or professional secrecy cannot be
invoked as grounds for refusing information
requests from these authorities.
The UCREF assisted in obtaining, validating and
certifying Haitian bank records for use as
exhibits in U.S. court proceedings. In 2005,
UCREF confiscated $800,000 and froze $2.86 million
related to money laundering offenses.
Approximately 400 investigations were underway in 2005. Data
provided largely by UCREF in 2005 resulted in
the freezing of $17.6 million in assets of convicted
drug trafficker Serge Edouard. The UCREF also
assisted the IGOH in filing the first-ever civil
lawsuit in a U.S. court for reparation of
Haitian Government funds diverted through U.S. banks and
businesses. Though these 2005 achievements of
the UCREF are a marked improvement, the CNLBA is
still not fully functional or funded, and many
of the UCREF’s employees still lack experience
and the ability to independently investigate
cases, which translates into slow progress in moving
cases into the judicial system.
The AML Law has provisions for the forfeiture
and seizure of assets ; however the government
cannot declare the asset or business forfeited
until there is a conviction. The inability to seize
or freeze assets early in the judicial process
reduces the government’s authority and resources
to pursue cases. The IGOH is supportive of a
stronger, more proactive asset seizure law, yet its
temporary governmental mandate does not allow
for the passage of new laws. The IGOH has set-up a
Financial Crimes Task Force under the auspices
of the Ministries of Justice, Finance, and the
Central Bank, charged with identifying and
investigating major financial crimes and coordinating
with the UCREF in recommending prosecutions.
Supported by the U.S. Embassy Narcotics Affairs
Section (NAS) and the U.S. Treasury Office of
Technical Assistance (OTA), this task force and
UCREF cooperated with the U.S. Internal Revenue
Service in 2005 to investigate several
significant cases of U.S. tax fraud. One major case
developed by the task force, without U.S.
assistance, is presently being prosecuted. At least six
other significant cases are currently under
investigation. With U.S. guidance and support, the
IGOH took steps to reorganize the UCREF and the
Financial Crimes Task Force. Efforts were underway
at the end of 2005 to separate the intelligence
gathering and investigative functions to provide
for essential checks and balances and reduce the
potential for internal fraud abuses.


For the full 2006 INCSR, click here.