Haiti coup leader pleads not guilty to drug charges in US
CNN — Former Haitian rebel leader Guy Philippe pleaded not guilty Friday in a US federal court to charges of money laundering and drug-trafficking.
Philippe, 48, entered the plea in a Miami federal courthouse as throngs of supporters rallied outside. The US Drug Enforcement Administration had listed Philippe as one of its most wanted fugitives.
He is accused by the US of cocaine trafficking and money laundering.
Haitian police arrested Philippe at a radio station in Port-au-Prince on January 5, his lawyer Zeljka Bozanic said. He was extradited to the United States the same day.
During the hearing, Philippe’s supporters milled around the Miami courthouse clad in t-shirts with his face on them. A few waved the Haitian flag. Social media videos also showed Philippe’s supporters chanting in front of the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince.
A larger-than-life presence in Haitian politics, Philippe is senator-elect of Haiti’s Grand-Anse region. He won the November 20 legislative elections.
Phillippe played a leading role in destabilizing Haiti in 2004, when he led the coup that ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.