Drug runner implicates Aristide

Published Feb. 26, 2004|Updated Aug. 27, 2005

Embattled Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide controls 85 percent of the cocaine flow through the impoverished nation, an expelled drug lord said in a tirade Wednesday as he was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison.

"He turned the country into a narco-country," said Beaudoin "Jacques" Ketant, who blames Aristide for his brother's killing last year. "The man is a drug lord. He controlled the drug world in Haiti."

Citing payoffs to government officials from Aristide on down, defense attorney Ruben Oliva said: "Certainly the government was the godfather. Everyone in Haiti that was engaged in this activity had to pay the government."

Ira Kurzban, a Miami attorney for the Haitian government, flatly dismissed the allegations from "a lying, convicted drug dealer."

Ketant, 40, was fined $15-million and ordered to forfeit another $15-million. Prosecutors said he smuggled his way to a "Midas-like" fortune, including an $8-million villa, four other houses, paintings by Monet and Picasso, $5-million cash and bank accounts. A daughter at Emory University drives a Mercedes-Benz.

Ketant received three months short of the maximum under a plea deal for money laundering and allegedly shepherding 41 tons of drugs through Haiti.