June 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Justice said Guy Philippe, a Haitian politician who once led a coup d'etat as a soldier but later plead guilty to laundering drug money, will be jailed for nine years.
Philippe, 49, previously served as a high-ranking Haitian National Police officer. He pleaded guilty to a money laundering charge in connection with an international narcotics scheme in April.
The Justice Department said Philippe admitted to taking bribes from 1999 to 2003 to protect drug shipments traveling to the United States while he worked as a senior officer. Philippe took in up to $3.5 million in bribes, which he shared with other officers to buy their silence.
Philippe initially pleaded not guilty but later changed his plea to guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence that saw a drug trafficking charge dropped.
Philippe was arrested in January after participating in a radio show in Port-au-Prince and transferred to U.S. authorities, which transported him from Haiti to Miami.
Philippe recently was elected to serve a six-year term as senator in the Haitian Parliament to represent the Grand'Anse area. Philippe would have been entitled to immunity from arrest or prosecution during his term in office.
Philippe led a rebellion in 2004 that removed Jean-Bertrand Aristide from the presidency. In 2005, the DEA filed a sealed indictment charging Philippe with conspiracy to import cocaine and money laundering.