- By Jacqueline Charles and Jay Weaver The Miami Herald (TNS)
- Jun 7, 2019 Updated 1 day ago
MIAMI – The former leader of the National Police's anti-drug unit, who lost his command after being implicated in a bungled Haitian drug smuggling operation, is in US immigration detention in Miami.
Joris Mergelus quietly flew last week from Haiti to Miami International Airport, where he was immediately taken into custody by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
During questioning, Mergelus asked for asylum, based on sources familiar with his case. He was carrying about $ 7,000 cash and documents.
Mergelus, who is currently being held at the Krome North Detention Center, is linked to a narco-trafficking investigation by the US Attorney's Office that grew out of a 2015 drug-smuggling operation. Haiti involving the disappearance of multiple kilos of cocaine and heroin
The US Attorney 's Office in Miami, Mergelus' fleeing Haiti. The Drug Enforcement Administration in Puerto Rico, the DEA office in Haiti, Haiti, Mergelus was under investigation by the Haitian National Police. Investigators were looking into allegations by DEA whistleblowers that head of the Brigade in the Fight Against Narcotics Trafficking, Mergelus took bribes to hinder a police investigation of a “sugar boat” that arrived in April 2015. The MV Manzanares was loaded with bags of sugar along with 700 to 800 kilos of cocaine and 300 kilos of heroin – most of which disappeared.
Mergelus was suspected of destroying evidence in the Manzanares investigation, according to investigators.
DEA whistleblowers believe that Mergelus had given kickbacks to a DEA supervisor in the past of funds for confidential sources, equipment and other expenses. He also had previously failed the DEA test on his relationship with drug dealers, the whistleblowers say.
Mergelus was removed from the head of Haiti's drug unit, BLTS, in 2017 and assigned to a desk job.
Mergelus strongly denied any links to drug traffickers. In a previous interview with the Miami Herald, he said the litany of allegations “truly surprises me” and that he believes he is being made into the fall of the world for DEA agents in Haiti.
“If I did not pass, why did they accept me as head of BLTS?” Said Mergelus, who joined the narcotics unit in 1997 and became its commander in 2011 “All the big drug arrests in Haiti, I did.”
The Miami Herald broke the story that the US Attorney's Office in Miami was investigating the sugar boat drug smuggling operation, and that the US Justice Department was probing separate allegations of DEA agents suspected of bungling the April 2015 case.
In May, the US government was in charge of a drug smuggling conspiracy in Miami federal court after he was extradited to the United States. Gregory George, 32, is the first and only defendant to face prosecution in the cocaine and heroin distribution case
A federal magistrate judge, Edwin Torres, granted George a $ 250,000 bond based on a joint recommendation by Kurt Lunkenheimer the federal public defender's office. George, however, has not been retained and is still in custody at the Miami Federal Detention Center.
His trial is scheduled for Aug. 19.
With the recent extradition of Gregory George it became obvious to Joris Mergelus, commander of Haiti's drug squad – BLTS – that his days were numbered.
He was marked for elimination.
Suspected of number of crimes, involving the Manzaneres, and other situations, Mergers was required to sign in at the PNH Headquarters each day at 8 AM and sign out at 4 PM  He was not in possession of a passport, or American visa, making one wonder how he managed to get on the plane to Fort Lauderdale.
Looks like he will be cooperating witness.
on arrival at Fort Lauderdale, presenting the authorities with a treasure trove of documents, involved with this, and other cases. It is worthwhile to note that it is being held at the Krome Detention Center, and not the Federal jail facility.
Another message can be seen in the low $ 250,000 lease set for the release of Georges. (He could have put up $ 25,000.) It does not matter if George is free to move around. I would bet that he would, eventually, be sentenced to time served, which means he would be immediately released. He was already incarcerated for several years in Haiti.
Dead me tell no tales and some people had already left their chance to silence Gregory George.
DEA staffers, along with a collection of Haitians, involved with the Manzanares Circus
Two prominent businessmen were arrested, then released.
Several meetings seem to be held, attended by participants. One of these participants thought it would be necessary to have a meeting there, which would have to be dealt with.
With the amount of drugs involved, they would have to face the Kingpin Category.
The American prosecutors expect to convict several DEA people, and a collection of Haitian businessmen as this move moves towards finality, at long last.