St Lucian-born Lazarus St Rose, 71, worked for the Drug Enforcement Authority (DEA) in the United States as an undercover informant, penetrating drug dens for 19 years.
Yesterday, he died a pauper inside his shack on the Moruga beach but with no one to claim his body. In August last year St Rose revealed his true identity to Newsday, but he claimed that the DEA used him, then spat him out. When he fled the US in 1992, he was fearful of going back to St Lucia where many cocaine shipments were linked to drug runners in the US. St Rose came to Trinidad instead and hid in a shack on the Moruga beach where he survived mainly on fish broth.
San Fernando-based attorney Sean Sobers took up his plight in August last year and wrote several letters to the US Embassy, Port of Spain. He requested compensation for St Rose and asked for an update on his status, adding that the former agent was supposed to be placed into a witness protection programme in the US as a reward for his service.
At 19, St Rose had migrated from St Lucia to the US where he married and lived in Florida. The DEA enlisted him into their programme and for 19 years they watched over him with high-powered guns. During that time, he bought hundreds of thousands of US dollars worth in cocaine, but the dollar notes were always “marked” for St Rose. DEA agents moved in and busted many a cocaine dealer.
In August last year, St Rose sat on the Moruga beach outside his shack and told Newsday about his life. He spoke English, Spanish, French and Patois.
Yesterday morning, fishermen on the beach who were accustomed to St Rose asking for a fish, missed him and knocked on his door. They found him dead in bed. He had suffered from kidney failure and was a dialysis out-patient of the San Fernando General Hospital. Police were called and his body was removed to the hospital mortuary.
His sister in St Lucia, Margaretta Laurent, 67, told the Newsday yesterday that she could not come to Trinidad to claim her brother’s body because her husband is extremely ill. About her brother, she said, “Lazarus leave St Lucia because he was fearful of his life here. I always told him to get out of this business he was into in the US, but he never listened.” St Rose, she said, had several children in the US.
One of his ex-wives in the US, Lisa Finefrock, told the Newsday yesterday she could not live a normal life with St Rose because of the work he did. “I didn’t like the fact he did it but I fell in love with him and before I knew it, I just wanted him to stop and have a normal life with me.”