Wednesday, July 07, 2004

DEA election year grandstanding nets another Haitian bust

Yet another Haitian extradited without much fanfare from the Dominican Republic for complicity in cocaine smuggling. Former Haitian airport police commander Romaine Lestin was charged with conspiracy for protecting cocaine shipments passing through the airport, becoming the sixth high level Haitian arrested in this election year sting. It appears that four informants rolled on Lestin because they were pissed off that he had shorted them on their share of the "protection money" and of course they are being held in US jails and one assumes are being subjected to interrogation techniques similar to Abu Ghraib.

And as always in an election year, the DEA likes to make it look like they are "protecting" you from these "high level" dealers but the truth is that the 528 lbs. of cocaine at issue here is a small shipment among big smugglers. Typically, a big shipment would comprise at least, and often more, than a ton.

These poor Haitians were merely involved in what had essentially been a protected activity, that I would bet was being conducted with the full knowledge of our DEA, until Bush decided to "liberate" the country. Not unlike Oriel Jean, who we told you about weeks ago, Lestin was small potatoes in this operation. He was paid a total of $11,000 over the years. It no doubt cost at least ten times that in your tax dollars to bring him to the US on that DEA plane and it will cost at least that much more again to prosecute him. Meanwhile, the availability of cocaine on the street is undiminished and word has it, has become more pure as the competition in the black market heats up; while the problem of cocaine addiction goes unaddressed and it's victims untreated under this current model of interdiction and incarceration in the war on some drugs.


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