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Article

30 Nov 2021

Author:
InSight Crime

Haiti: US illegal weapons are feeding spiraling gang violence

"US Guns Flow into Haiti, Fuel Gang Violence", 30 November 2021

...A string of US citizens and residents accused of smuggling weapons into Haiti underscores how guns purchased in the United States are a source of illegal weapons in a country wracked by spiraling gang violence.

On November 19, three American nationals of Haitian origin were arrested on suspicion of arms trafficking at the international airport of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Authorities discovered five firearms, including an AR15 semi-automatic rifle and four 9mm handguns, as well as ammunition, concealed in their luggage...

Days earlier, on November 16, seven firearms, including four assault rifles and three handguns, were seized from a cargo container at Port-de-Paix, a city in northwestern Haiti...

On November 13, another US citizen was arrested at Port-au-Prince airport, for entering the country with six guns stowed in his check-in luggage...

And on October 31, a US citizen and two Haitian nationals who live in Florids were indicted in a US federal district court in Washington DC on charges of smuggling weapons into Haiti...

These cases may seem small in isolation but, when seen together, they show how lax gun control laws in the US facilitate the flow of arms into Haiti.

A United Nations report estimated in 2020 that over 270,000 illicit firearms are circulating in Haiti...

Due to its lenient gun purchasing laws and its proximity to the Caribbean, the state of Florida is a top supplier...

The proliferation and expansion of gangs in Haiti is likely increasing the internal demand for weapons...