A once powerful Haitian army colonel indicted in the United States on cocaine trafficking charges died Sunday of suspected poisoning at his home, a police spokesman said Monday.
Col. Jean-Claude Paul, 49, was seized by violent convulsions and died Sunday afternoon after eating soup at his luxury home in the hillside suburb of Laboule, radio stations reported.A spokesman at Port-au-Prince police headquarters told Reuters that "poisoning is suspected."
An autopsy on Paul's body was to be carried out Monday and the remains of the soup were being sent to a Miami forensic laboratory, Radio Haiti Inter reported.
Paul recently married Mireille Delinois for the second time. Delinois was arrested in Miami on a cocaine conspiracy charge in March 1987 but disappeared after being released on $250,000 bail.
Paul was indicted by a Florida grand jury in March 1988 in connection with the same conspiracy charge. He was alleged to have allowed one of his personal airstrips in Haiti to be used to ferry Colombian cocaine to the United States.
As commander of the strategic Dessallines Battalion in Port-au-Prince, Paul became one of the most powerful army officers in Haiti after the fall of the Duvalier family dictatorship in February 1986.
His forced retirement on Sept. 30, two weeks after a military coup, was seen as an attempt by the new government of Gen. Prosper Avril to remove one of the biggest obstacles to resumption of U.S. aid, suspended after an election day massacre in November 1987.