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Haitian judge clears local businessman of drug trafficking charges
Published on December 28, 2013 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Joe Colas

LES CAYES, Haiti (HCNN) -- A Haitian investigating judge announced on Thursday that a well known businessman, Evinx Daniel, has been exonerated because there was no evidence the entrepreneur was involved in drug trafficking or did anything wrong when he helped the police secure narcotics that were floating on the ocean in the Caribbean country's southern region.

Judge Josias Jean-Pierre said he ruled no charge against Daniel because, at the end of his investigation, he found no clues that could indicate any criminal wrongdoing on his part, in connection with drug trafficking or appropriation of illegal narcotics.

"I investigated but I did not find any clues or evidence that Mr Daniel was involved in any drug deal or appropriation of illegal drug," Jean-Pierre told HCNN on Thursday.

"So I decided to dismiss proceedings against him," the magistrate stated.

Evinx Daniel
Daniel, who owns a beach hotel in the Southern town of Port-Salut, was arrested and briefly held on September 12, 2013, after having alerted police and judicial authorities about packages of marijuana that he and several of his friends had seen floating on the ocean, as they passed by on their yacht.

Officers of the Haitian anti-narcotics unit and agents of US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) arrived on the scene and took away with them the 55.7 kilos of marijuana found on the spot, after questioning Daniel on the circumstances surrounding the finding.

However, a couple of days later, then prosecutor for Les Cayes jurisdiction, Jean-Marie Salomon, ordered the arrest of the very person that helped his office and the police to actually take possession of the illegal drug that could have fallen in the wrong hands.

Shortly after the arrest personally ordered by Salomon, Haitian police authorities had immediately distanced themselves from the decision, which appeared to have come as a surprise to them.

"The police do not have anything to blame Mr Daniel for, quite the opposite, because he was helping the police," said police spokesman, Gary Desrosiers.

"As a matter of fact, he helped the police take possession of 55.7 kilos of marijuana we probably would not have seized otherwise," explained Desrosiers.

"We want to make it clear that the police have nothing to do with the arrest of Evinx Daniel," stated Desrosiers, explaining that the arrest was a decision only by the prosecutor.

However, the prosecutor was later believed to have acted in connivance with one of his closest allies and mentor, Gabriel Fortuné, a local opposition leader, who is a fierce political opponent of Daniel, himself an ally of Haitian President Michel Martelly.

Judge Jean-Pierre had provisionally released Daniel after one night in detention, while he continued to investigate. The ruling definitely exonerating Daniel was issued last month, according to Jean-Pierre.
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