Former Aristide security chief sentenced in Miami in cocaine operation

The former security chief of ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was sentenced to about three years in prison for his involvement in a cocaine smuggling operation.

Oriel Jean, 40, apologized to prosecutors, his family and U.S. District Judge Jose Martinez during sentencing Friday on a money laundering charge.

Jean had faced up to 20 years in prison, but was given a lighter sentence in exchange for testimony in other cases. A three-year investigation resulted in the arrests of 14 Haitians who held top government and private jobs during the Aristide administration, the Miami Herald reported on Saturday.

Jean headed &to=' target=_blank>Aristide's palace security unit from 2001 to 2003 and was arrested March 10 after flying from the Dominican Republic to Toronto on a valid Canadian visa. Aristide flew into exile Feb. 29.

Other Haitian police officials who previously pleaded guilty are Jean Nesly Lucien, the former national police director; Rudy Therassan, a former police commander; and Romaine Lestin, former police chief at the Port-au-Prince airport. Therassan was sentenced in July to 15 years in prison, while the other two are awaiting sentencing later this year.