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WPTV NBC 5 interview on February 9, 2010

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL-- Dr. Albert La Torra and Dr. Wilhelm Larsen are successful South Florida doctors who have opened hospitals and clinics in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Dr. Larsen is a hematologist and Dr. La Torra is a retired surgeon. They have worked for years to bring better health care to the impoverished nation.

In prior visits they have had bodyguards to discourage murderous drug gangs that control much of the city. "It's a lawless land," says Dr. Larsen.

In a country where most people live on $100 a year, there is a billion dollar drug trafficking business that was thriving before the earthquake.

It's estimated 20% of the cocaine that passes through Haiti ends up being sold in the U.S.

Fly into Port-au-Prince from the north and there are vast stretches or arid land, then mountain valleys. Both remote locations are ideal for the covert landings of drug planes from Central and South America.

The arrival of those drug planes is a knife to the heart of the Haitian recovery effort.
Dr. Larsen says anyone can fly into Haiti, land their plane, bring cocaine, and leave.

"The gang people want you to know they are in control. You can do good, but don't interfere with their business," says Dr. Larsen. "There is no Army, no Navy, no Coast Guard, no Marines. It's a wide open country."
Not policed, largely lawless and crushingly, poor Haiti has long been on the DEA's radar.

There is every reason to believe the further collapse of a country already broken will open the doors to smugglers who find it a safe midway point on runs north.
The United states is the largest consumer of cocaine in the world and ironically the largest contributor to the relief effort.

Article and video courtesy of Tim Malloy and WPTV NBC 5 in West Palm Beach, FL.

Dr. Larsen talks about the threat drugs pose to Haiti in an interview with Tim Malloy of WPTV NBC 5 in West Palm Beach, FL.

Feb. 9, 2010