US judge sentences ex-leader of Haiti gang to 35 years in prison

Washington, June 25 (UNI) A US judge sentenced the former leader of the notorious Haitian gang known as 400 Mawozo to 35 years in prison after he was convicted for smuggling firearms to Haiti and laundering money collected from ransoms of US hostages, the Justice Department announced.

“Joly Germine, 31, of Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti, was sentenced today to 420 months in prison for his role in a gunrunning conspiracy that smuggled firearms to Haiti in violation of US export laws, and the laundering of ransoms paid for US hostages held by the notoriously violent Haitian gang known as 400 Mawozo,” the Justice Department said in a press release on Monday.

Germine was accused of his role in the gang’s effort to purchase at least 24 firearms in the United States, including AK-47s, AR-15s, an M4 Carbine rifle, an M1A rifle, and a .50 caliber rifle, which were smuggled to the gang in Haiti to further their criminal activities, according to the release.

These firearms, the release said, were bought using funds the gang collected from ransoms of US citizens held hostage by the gang in Haiti in 2021.

In the fall of 2021, the 400 Mawozo gang claimed responsibility for taking 16 US citizens hostage, including five children, and one Canadian citizen who were part of a missionary organization visiting an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, the release said, adding that the gang demanded a ransom of $1 million for each hostage.

The hostages were all released or had escaped by December 16, 2021.

Germine’s wife, Eliande Tunis, who was described as the “Queen” of 400 Mawozo, was sentenced on June 5 to 150 months in prison for her role in the conspiracy as well, the release added.

Two other defendants in the case were also sentenced to prison for their involvement.

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