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The leader of Haiti’s 400 Mawozo gang, which claimed responsibility last year for kidnapping a group of missionaries, has been charged in the United States along with three others.

Joly “Yonyon” Germine, 29, Eliande Tunis, 43, Jocelyn Dor, 29, and Walder St. Louis, 33, are each facing counts of smuggling, money laundering and conspiracy, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

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While Germine has been imprisoned in Haiti since 2018, the Justice Department said he has been running the 400 Mawozo gang from behind bars via “unmonitored” cell phones. The gang leader, who is a Haitian national, was extradited on Tuesday to the United States

Dor and St. Louis are also Haitian nationals while Tunis is a U.S. citizen. All three live in Florida and were taken into custody in October and November 2021. They have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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According to a newly unsealed indictment from last year, Germine ordered the group to purchase a range of firearms — including rifles, shotguns and pistols — to send to Haiti in support of the 400 Mawozo gang. The men obliged, according to the Justice Department, shipping the weapons in barrels packed full of other items like “clothes, shoes, and Gatorade.”

Germine is additionally accused of communicating with another “Haitian national and a leader of 400 Mawozo,” who was identified only as “Individual 2.” He has allegedly claimed responsibility for kidnapping 17 Canadian and American missionaries in October 2021.

One Canadian and 16 Americans were captured last year by the 400 Mawozo gang in Croix-des-Bouquets, a northeast suburb outside the nation’s capital city of Port-au-Prince, which is part of the region controlled by the kidnappers. The group, made up of 12 adults and five children, including an 8-month-old, had just visited an orphanage as part of their mission work through Christian Aid Ministries.

In wake of their abduction, gang members demanded $17 million — $1 million per person — in exchange for their safe return.

The first two hostages were released in November and another three were freed in early December. Later the same month, the remaining 12 hostages were freed.

It’s not clear whether any of the funds were paid.

Source: nydailynews

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