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NARCOTICS TRAINING AND DRUG SMUGGLING CONTROL IN HAITI

Dec. 21, 1973, 6:55 p.m.

SUMMARY: DEA TEAM VISITED HAITI IN DECEMBER 1973, CONDUCTED SUCCESSFUL IN-COUNTRY NARCOTICS TRAINING COURSE FOR BROAD RANGE OF GOH MILITARY AND SECURITY PERSONNEL, AND ESTABLISHED PROMISING NEW CHANNEL FOR GOH-USG COOPERATION ON NARCOTICS CONTROL EFFORT THROUGH LT.GEN. HILAIRE, CHIEF OF ARMED FORCES GENERAL STAFF. HILAIRE AND PRESIDENT DUVALIER APPEARED TO TAKE DIRECT PERSONAL INTEREST IN NARCOTICS CONTROL EFFORT, AND HILAIRE PROMISED ACTIVE COOPERATION AND REQUESTED CLOSE FUTURE EXCHANGE OF INTELLIGENCE. DEA REPRESENTATIVES STRESSED PROBLEM OF NARCOTICS SMUGGLING IN WATERS OFF HAITI (FROM OTHER POINTS IN CARIBBEAN EN ROUTE TO THE U.S.), WHICH UNDERSCORES IMPORTANCE OF UPGRADING COASTAL PATROL CAPABILITY OF HAITIAN NAVY, NOW VIRTUALLY NON-EXISTENT, AS ESSENTIAL ELEMENT IN ANY THROUGHGOING NARCOTICS CONTROL EFFORT IN THE REGION. END SUMMARY. 1. IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST MADE SEVERAL MONTHS AGO BY CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 02 PORT A 02166 212037Z PRESIDENT JEAN-CLAUDE DUVALIER, THE EMBASSY AND THE DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION'S REGIONAL OFFICE IN MIAMI ARRANGED AN IN-COUNTRY NARCOTICS TRAINING COURSE FOR 37 HAITIAN GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL DECEMBER 10-13. THE DEA COURSE COVERED NARCOTICS IDENTIFICATION, UNDERCOVER IN- VESTIGATION, SURVEILLANCE, AND SEARCHES AND SEIZURES. I OPENED COURSE WITH BRIEF REMARKS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF ANTI-NARCOTICS EFFORT, AND SECSTATE FOR THE INTERIOR AND NATIONAL DEFENSE PRESENTED GRADUATION CERTIFICATES TO THE HAITIAN PARTICIPANTS. 2. A SIMILAR DEA COURSE WAS GIVEN IN HAITI EARLIER THIS YEAR, BUT EMBASSY'S MAIN NARCOTICS CONTACT IN GOH AT THAT TIME, PORT-AU-PRINCE POLICE CHIEF FRANCK ROMAIN (SINCE REPLACED IN AUGUST 1973) ARRANGED FIRST COURSE ONLY FOR PERSONNEL HIS POLICE DEPARTMENT. FOR LATEST COURSE, EMBASSY SOUGHT BROADER REPRESENTATION OF HAITIAN MILITARY AND SECURITY SERVICES. WHEN DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND CASERNES DESSALINES DID NOT RESPOND TO OUR INITIAL INQUIRIES, EMBASSY (THROUGH DEFENSE ATTACHE) RAISED QUESTION OF COURSE WITH LT.GEN. JEAN-BAPTISTE HILAIRE, CHIEF OF THE GENERAL STAFF OF HAITIAN ARMED FORCES (WHICH COMPRISES POLICE AND RURAL CONSTABULARY AS WELL AS ARMY, NAVY, AND AIR CORPS). GEN. HILAIRE WAS VERY RESPONSIVE, CONSULTED WITH PRESIDENT DUVALIER, AND WITH GO-AHEAD FROM PRESIDENT SET UP TRAINING COURSE ON VERY SHORT NOTICE WITH BROAD REPRESENTATION FROM HAITIAN MILITARY AND SECURITY SERVICES. (SOME OFFICIALS WERE FLOWN IN FROM THE PROVINCES FOR THE COURSE). 3. DUE TO APPARENT PERSONAL INTEREST AND ACTIVE COOPERATION OF PRESIDENT DUVALIER AND GENERAL HILAIRE, PLUS GOOD WORK OF DEA TEAM FROM MIAMI, LATEST TRAINING COURSE AND DEA TEAM VISIT APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL BOTH IN INCREASING AWARENESS OF HAITIAN OFFICIALS OF DRUG PROBLEM AND IN ESTABLISHING PROMISING NEW CHANNEL FOR CONTINUING COOPERATION BETWEEN USG AND GOH ON NARCOTICS CONTROL (I.E., THROUGH GEN. HILAIRE TO PRESIDENT DUVALIER). MAKING FIRST USE OF THIS CHANNEL, DEA DISCLOSED TO GEN. HILAIRE THAT TWO SEPARATE CASES OF HARD DRUG SMUGGLING TO THE U.S. VIA HAITI ARE UNDER ACTIVE INVESTIGATION AND REQUESTED ASSISTANCE. CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 03 PORT A 02166 212037Z AFTER CONSULTING WITH PRESIDENT, HILAIRE PROMISED TO TAKE ACTION ON LEADS, AND EXPRESSED POSITIVE INTEREST IN CLOSE FUTURE EXCHANGE OF INTELLIGENCE. (HE GAVE DEA HIS PRIVATE TELEPHONE NUMBER AND ASKED THEM TO CALL ANY TIME OF DAY OR NIGHT.) IN SUM, RESPONSE OF PRESIDENT AND GEN. HILAIRE WAS ALL THAT COULD BE HOPED FOR, AT LEAST AT THIS INITIAL STAGE. 4. APPARENT ESTABLISHMENT OF GOOD WORKING RELATIONS BETWEEN GOH AND USG ON NARCOTICS CONTROL COMES AT A PARTICULARLY OPPORTUNE TIME, AS THERE ARE INDICATIONS THAT SOME NARCOTICS SMUGGLERS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES ARE NEW SEEKING TO USE HAITI AS TRANSSHIPMENT POINT FOR NARCOTICS FROM SOUTH AMERICA DESTINED FOR THE U.S. MOREOVER, DEA REPRESENTATIVES HERE EXPRESSED CONSIDERABLE CONCERN AT VOLUME OF NARCOTIC-SMUGGLING SMALL BOAT TRAFFIC PASSING THROUGH WINDWARD PASSAGE FROM OTHER POINTS IN CARIBBEAN OR SOUTH AMERICA ENROUTE TO THE U.S. AND HUGGING HAITI'S COASTLINE TO AVOID DETECTION ON HIGH SEAS. REPRESENTATIVES SAID PROBLEM WAS SUFFICIENTLY SERIOUS THAT THEY WOULD LIKE TO STATION DEA AIRPLANE TO HAITI TO CARRY OUT CONTINUING SURVEILLANCE OF SMUGGLING THROUGH WINDWARD PASSAGE. ALTERNATIVELY, DEA BELIEVES HAITIAN NAVY COULD ACCOMPLISH SAME MISSION IF PROPERLY EQUIPPED AND TRAINED. 5. IN PREVIOUS MESSAGES, EMBASSY HAS REQUESTED SMALL TRAINING PROGRAM FOR HAITIAN NAVY PERSONNEL TO ENABLE THEM TO USE PATROL CRAFT ALREADY IN INVENTROY TO CONTROL NARCOTICS SMUGGLING IN WATERS OFF HAITI AND TO SERVE OTHER U.S. INTERESTS HERE (E.G., MARINE SAFETY OF U.S. VESSELS IN HAITIAN WATERS). AT PRESENT HAITIANS HAVE SUITABLE PATROL CRAFT ALREADY IN INVENTORY, BUT DUE TO LACK OF TRAINED CREWS AND MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR CAPABILITY, COASTAL PATROL CAPABILITY IS VIRTUALLY NON-EXISTENT. WE BELIVE LAST VISIT OF DEA TEAM, AND WHAT THEY REPORTED OF NARCOTICS SMUGGLING PROBLEM IN WATERS OFF HAITI, UNDERSCORES INCREASING IMPORTANCE AND URGENCY OF RECOMMENDED NAVAL TRAINING PROGRAM, AND WE AGAIN URGE EARLIEST FAVORABLE CONSIDERATION THIS RECOMMENDATION. SINCE CONTROL OF NARCOTICS SMUGGLING IN WINDWARD PASSAGE AREA INVOLVES U.S. INTERESTS ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY (HAITIANS HAVE NO DRUG PROBLEM OF THEIR CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 04 PORT A 02166 212037Z OWN AND NARCOTICS DO NOT ORIGINATE HERE) AND GOH RESOURCES TO PAY FOR THIS SORT OF TRAINING ARE SCARCE, DEVELOPMENT OF HAITIAN COASTAL PATROL CAPABILITY WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY DEPEND ON U.S. GRANT ASSISTANCE. CORCORAN CONFIDENTIAL NNN