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August 26, 2005

Airport Corruption

A former Haitian police officer in charge of the airport at Port au Prince has pleaded guilty in a court in Miami of allowing drug traffickers to fly tons of cocaine in to the United States in return for payoffs of thousands of dollars, according to an article in the Miami Herald. Romaine Lestin is the third person to be taken down in a probe targeting officials from the Aristide government.

The article, by Jay Weaver, stuck to the facts, with none of the authorities quoted offering interpretation. But interpretation would be useful. The reality is that there is so much money in the drug trade that bribing the occasional official is an easy matter. It's not that all border/customs officers are corrupt or even corruptible. But it only takes on here and there, and don't think it's only Haitians and Mexicans who get corrupted, it's Americans too -- Customs, DEA, Border Patrol, what have you.

This is one of the many reasons that prohibition can't work. But it's also an example of a consequence of prohibition, the corrupting of institutions, particularly though not exclusively institutions of law enforcement, and the association thereby of government officials with organized crime. Legalization would not mean that drugs can get here now where they couldn't before, because drugs already get here in plenty. But legalization would mean that our institutions would not get corrupted by drug money, and that's important.

The Herald has a web page for letters to the editor and other kinds of feedback here.

- Dave Borden, DRCNet

Posted by dborden725 at August 26, 2005 12:10 AM

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