Assassinated Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was planning to go after drug traffickers and weapons dealers including powerful local politicians and businessmen before he was murdered by hired mercenaries in July.
Moïse, 53, had built a list of drug traffickers and gangs operating in the country and was planning to hand it over to the U.S. government, four senior Haitian advisers and officials tasked with drafting the document told the New York Times.
Martine Moise, the wife of the president who survived the night attack by gunmen, told the New York times in an interview that the attackers searched the room, digging into his files before they declared “that’s it” and fled.
In the months before his assassination, Moise took steps to clean up Haiti’s customs department, nationalize a seaport with a history of smuggling, destroy an airstrip used by drug traffickers and investigate the lucrative eel trade.
Both the Trump and Biden administrations threw their support behind the Haitian president when violent protests rocked the Caribbean country in the months leading to his July 7, 2021 assassination.
Moïse got backing from the U.S. even as members of Congress warned about his “anti-democratic abuses” reminiscent of earlier Haitian dictatorships.
Among those on Moise’s list was Charles Saint -Rémy, a Haitian businessman known as Koki who has long been suspected by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration of being involved in drug trafficking. Saint-Remy is the brother-in-law of former Haiti President Michel Martelly.
Saint-Rémy has publicly admitted that he sold drugs in the past but claims all his businesses are now legitimate. Haitian law enforcement officials and former D.E.A. officers who recently served in Haiti say he is still believed to be one of the country’s biggest drug traffickers.
Martelly, who is considering another run for the presidency, and Saint-Rémy were hugely influential in Moïse’s government.
Haiti has long been a haven for drug traffickers with suspected drug and arms traffickers sitting in the country’s parliament.
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