Haitian Gangs Smuggled Firearms Using Hostage Ransoms


A Haitian gang leader, Joly Germaine, 31, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for his role in a gunrunning operation and ransom laundering scheme. The operation, uncovered by the U.S. Department of Justice, involved smuggling firearms to Haiti in violation of U.S. export laws.

Germaine’s alleged accomplice, Eliande Tunis, 46, was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison earlier this month after pleading guilty to her involvement in the scheme. She was described as Germaine’s “wife” and was a key player in the operation.

Two other individuals, Jocelyn Dor, 31, and Walder St. Louis, 35, also pleaded guilty to their roles as straw gun purchasers for Germaine and Tunis. They were sentenced to five years and three years in prison, respectively.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Germaine and Tunis, also known as the “king” and “queen” of the 400 Mawozo gang, used funds from hostage ransoms for U.S. citizens in Haiti in 2021 to purchase firearms in the United States. The weapons included military-grade firearms, such as AK-47s, AR-15s, and an M4 Carbine rifle, which were smuggled to the gang in Haiti.

Katie Smith
Katie Smith
Digital Reporter. Previously, Katie wrote about crime and court for the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Illinois. She’s also reported on similar beats for the Daily Chronicle and the Daily Herald in the Chicago suburbs. Katie earned her journalism degree from Eastern Illinois University, where she also studied English and photojournalism.

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