Evintz Brillant, the former head of Haiti's anti-narcotics unit, was acquitted Friday of charges that he took bribes to let Colombian drug lords move cocaine through the island nation and into the United States. Brillant, 33, was cleared of conspiracy.
Three other Haitian police officials -- including the former national police director and the former police chief at the Port-au-Prince airport -- have pleaded guilty in an investigation into what authorities said was a network of corrupt public officials who had been bought off by drug smugglers.
The graft occurred during the government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was ousted under U.S. pressure in 2004 and is living in exile in South Africa. He has not been charged or directly implicated in drug trafficking.
Brillant was accused of taking thousands of dollars in payoffs to let tons of cocaine move through Haiti to the United States, Europe and elsewhere. Many of the shipments were put on U.S.-bound flights at Haiti's airport in the capital of Port-au-Prince, prosecutors said.
"Evintz Brillant was making arrests. He was making seizures. But what he wasn't doing was going along with the team plan," said his attorney, Howard Schumacher.