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Press Release

Drug traffickers sentenced after smuggling millions of dollars worth of cocaine from Haiti hidden in butter

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia

ATLANTA - Amos Christolin is the last defendant to be sentenced for his role in a scheme to smuggle dozens of kilograms of cocaine hidden in tubs of butter from Haiti and distribute the drugs within the United States, including through the Atlanta area.

“Dangerous drugs smuggled from overseas threaten our communities and risk serious disruption to our international carriers,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “We are grateful for the excellent coordination of our federal, state, and local law enforcement, and international, partners who made this successful investigation and prosecution possible.”

“Together, we were able to prevent a substantial amount of drugs from reaching the streets. I’m proud to stand alongside our partner agencies as we work to stop these criminal enterprises that pollute our neighborhoods with their poison,” said Acting Special Agent in charge Travis Pickard who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama. “HSI will continue to work with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to disrupt and dismantle these drug trafficking organizations and prevent them from flooding our communities with illicit drugs.”

According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented in court: On August 24, 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Miami, Florida conducted a border search of a shipment bound for the Atlanta, Georgia area. The shipment entered the United States from Haiti. The search revealed 28 packages of white powder hidden within tubs of Haitian butter. The packages tested positive for cocaine and weighed approximately 28 kilograms.

Homeland Security Investigations Special Agents in Atlanta made a controlled delivery of the drugs to the shipment’s intended destination, a business in Austell, Georgia. Vital Joseph arrived to pick up the shipment.

Further investigation revealed that the source of supply for these drugs, Jean Yves-Durogel, had shipped at least four previous loads of cocaine hidden in butter from Haiti to Joseph in the United States. Joseph then distributed these drugs to individuals in the Miami, Florida, area previously identified to him by Durogel. One of these individuals was Amos Christolin. In all, agents determined that more than 100 kilograms of cocaine had been shipped from Haiti to the United States. The wholesale price for these drugs would have exceeded $3 million.

Amos Christolin, also known as “Patizan,” 52, of Miami, Florida, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release.  A jury convicted Christolin of the charges on August 4, 2023.

U.S. District Judges Amy Totenberg and Steve C. Jones, respectively, previously sentenced the co-defendants as follows:

  • Jean Yves Durogel, 48, of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, received a sentence of six years, eight months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release; and
  • Vital Joseph, 47, of Douglasville, Georgia, received a sentence of six years, six months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, with valuable assistance provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia State Patrol, and the Republic of Haiti.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas N. Joy and C. Brock Brockington prosecuted the case.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is                                                 

Updated November 8, 2023

Drug Trafficking