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Haitian gang leader sentenced to 35 years in prison for weapons smuggling and money laundering

A United States court has sentenced the leader of the Haitian gang 400 Mawozo, the largest armed gang in the Caribbean country, to 35 years in prison for weapons smuggling and money laundering, which gained notoriety when it kidnapped American citizens in 2021. They were in the capital, Port-au-Prince, as missionaries.

“A leader of the Haitian gang known as 400 Mawozo will now spend 35 years in prison for a scheme to smuggle weapons from the United States into Haiti using profits extorted from the kidnapping of American citizens. Leaders of violent gangs in Haiti terrorizing Americans to fuel their criminal activity will face the full force of the Department of Justice,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland.

The convicted person has been identified as Joly Germine, 31 years old. She has also been sentenced to twelve years in prison for her role in the conspiracy Eliande Tunis, who called herself Germine’s “wife” and who was described at trial as the ‘Queen’ of 400 Mawozo. Two other conspiracy defendants have also been sentenced to prison for their involvement.

During the conspiracy, a purchase was made in the United States of at least 24 firearms, including weapons designed for military and hand-to-hand combat, which were smuggled to the gang to further their criminal activities. These weapons were purchased with funds laundered from the proceeds of the hostage-taking to ransom American citizens in 2021.

“The gang not only wreaks havoc on their own communities, but also attacks innocent Americans living and traveling in Haiti. The FBI will continue to work with our partners to target leaders and take down any violent criminal groups that prey on the Americans abroad and use illegal and dangerous tactics,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Germine pleaded guilty in January to the second superseding indictment on 48 counts, including conspiracy to violate U.S. export control laws, smuggling and laundering proceeds of ransoms paid to free American hostages.

Tunis had a supervisory role in the conspiracy and pleaded guilty to the same charge. The other co-defendants, Jocelyn Dor, 31, and Walder Louis, 35, acted as gun buyers. They were sentenced to five and three years, respectively.

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