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Registered: 07/26/04
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The Haitian Drug Haven
    #4006880 - 04/03/05 12:23 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

The Haitian Drug Haven
April 2, 2005


Haiti is one of the Caribbean's three most significant transshipment countries, along with Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, for cocaine smuggled from South America and destined to the United States. Drug traffickers exploit Haiti as a transshipment and storage site for large quantities of cocaine destined to the United States and other international markets. Significant amounts of heroin and marijuana also are smuggled through Haiti. Haiti attracts drug traffickers due to its strategic geographic position between South America and the United States ; its lengthy coastlines and uncontrolled borders ; and the lack of law enforcement resources.

The primary method for smuggling cocaine into Haiti is via maritime vessels. Go-fast boats from Colombia remain the most common maritime trafficking method-usually transiting Colombia's Guajira Peninsula to arrival locations along the poorly guarded southern coast of Haiti. Traffickers also routinely transport cocaine from Colombia to Haiti by single- or twin-engine aircraft to clandestine landing strips, or airdrop cocaine loads to waiting land vehicles or maritime vessels. Other common conveyances for smuggling cocaine into Haiti include bulk cargo freighters, containerized cargo vessels, fishing vessels, and couriers on commercial aircraft.

After cocaine enters Haiti, it is usually stored until it can be shipped to the United States or other international markets. Cocaine often is smuggled out of Haiti in containerized cargo or on bulk cargo freighters directly to Miami. The cocaine shipments aboard cargo freighters are occasionally offloaded to smaller vessels prior to arrival in the United States. Cocaine also is sometimes transferred overland from Haiti to the Dominican Republic for further transshipment to Puerto Rico, the continental United States, Europe, and Canada.Marijuana destined for Haiti usually is transported from Jamaica via go-fast boats and other maritime vessels.

Anecdotal reporting indicates some small-scale marijuana production in Haiti, primarily for local consumption.Haiti's lack of implemented currency regulations and money laundering laws continue to facilitate money laundering. Most of the detected money laundering involves transporting cash via courier, from the United States through Haiti to Panama. However, some money laundering likely takes place in Haiti's poorly regulated banks and currency exchanges.Haitian financial institutions are required to report to the Government of Haiti currency transactions at or above 20,000 gourdes (approximately US$10,000). Haiti does not currently possess any asset seizure or forfeiture laws.

The Haitian legal code does not allow for conspiracy in drug cases. A suspect must be arrested in possession of drugs in order to be prosecuted for drug-related offenses.Currently, chemical diversion activities in Haiti are negligible. The country has no essential chemical control law.

In Haiti, cocaine and marijuana are readily available, but are not widely consumed due mainly to poor economic conditions. Wholesale amounts of cocaine sell among traffickers from US$6,000 to US$7,500 per kilogram. Crack cocaine sells on the street for about US$5 per rock. The Government of Haiti does not finance any demand reduction programs.

The Association for Alcohol Prevention and Chemical Dependency, a private, nongovernmental institution, remains the only established organization with treatment programs for substance abuse in Haiti.The Bureau of the War against Drug Trafficking (Bureau de la Lutte Contre le Trafic des Stupefiants, or BLTS) is the Haitian National Police counterdrug unit. The Haitian Coast Guard and Haitian Customs Bureau also have drug law enforcement responsibilities.Haiti has signed the 1961 U.N. Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol ; the 1988 U.N. Drug Convention ; and the Inter-American Convention against Corruption. However, Haiti has not signed the 1971 U.N. Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

A 1904 bilateral extradition treaty between the Governments of the United States and Haiti remains in force ; however, the 1987 Haitian Constitution prohibits the extradition of Haitian nationals. Haiti has expelled third-country nationals to the United States on occasion. Haiti honors the terms of a 1997 maritime and overflight agreement with the United States.

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