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Amid Supporters, Haiti Coup Leader Pleads Not Guilty in Drug Case

  • Associated Press

National police stand outside a radio station, center, after the arrest of Guy Philippe in Petion-Ville, Haiti, Jan. 5, 2017.

With dozens of supporters packing a Miami federal courthouse, a former Haitian coup leader and recent senator-elect pleaded not guilty in a U.S. drug trafficking case.

Guy Philippe entered the plea Friday morning to drug smuggling and money laundering conspiracy charges that carry a maximum life prison sentence.

Philippe was flown to the U.S. to face the longstanding charges after his arrest last week in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince during a live radio show.

Supporters who came to the courthouse Friday said the 48-year-old Philippe is innocent and blamed his arrest on political foes. Philippe was recently elected to the Haitian Senate, which supporters say should give him immunity from prosecution.

A former police chief, Philippe was a key part of a 2004 uprising that ousted then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

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