World October 20, 2023 | 8:23 am

UN says Haitian gang 400 Mawozo uses Dominican traffickers to acquire firearms

Santo Domingo.- The United Nations (UN) has recently published a report highlighting a troubling increase in firearms trafficking in Haiti, a country plagued by ongoing security challenges. According to the report, the primary source of firearms for Haiti is the United States, closely followed by the Dominican Republic. Several factors contribute to the appeal of the U.S. as a source, including its geographic proximity to Haiti, a sizable Haitian diaspora, relatively low firearm prices, and limited purchasing controls.

U.S. authorities have responded by stepping up vigilance, resulting in the interception of various firearms and ammunition shipments bound for Haiti. Miami, in particular, has been a key point for these seizures, given its role as a major export hub. Between January 2020 and July 2023, U.S. Customs and Border Protection confiscated a significant number of rounds of ammunition, receivers, and weapons, underscoring the scale of the issue.

Firearms in Haiti and the Dominican Republic command substantially higher prices compared to the United States, making arms trafficking a lucrative endeavor. Some Haitian criminal groups collaborate with Dominican traffickers to procure firearms. Furthermore, corrupt officials, including police officers, have been implicated in facilitating the illicit cross-border flow of weapons.

Another concerning dimension of Haiti’s security challenge is the trade of firearms for marijuana with Jamaica. This trade route has evolved over time, contributing to the proliferation of firearms in the region. Regional security experts suggest that approximately 18 kilograms of marijuana can be exchanged for a firearm due to the high demand for such weapons in Jamaica.

The report also highlights the diversion of firearms from national arsenals, often resulting from theft or loss. Alarmingly, between 2012 and 2023, around 2,500 police firearms were reported as lost or stolen. Notably, some police officers have reportedly been involved in selling their own firearms and ammunition.

To compound the issue, homemade firearms, commonly referred to as “ghost guns,” have emerged in the region. These privately manufactured firearms lack serial numbers, making them difficult to trace and regulate. This trend poses a considerable challenge to gun control efforts in the United States and the Caribbean.

The illicit trafficking of firearms and ammunition has significantly contributed to the expansion of gang control and escalating armed violence in Haiti. Addressing this critical issue requires a coordinated international effort, enhanced border controls, and a crackdown on corruption within law enforcement agencies.

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luis aquino
October 20, 2023 9:13 am

why would you traffic weapons using a 3rd country when you can import the weapons directly to haiti as contraband? this is just ridiculous.

Paul Tierney
October 20, 2023 10:13 am
Reply to  luis aquino

There is a possibility of sea importation directly into Haiti. However, suspect there is more bartering power and opportunity for the gangs with cross border illegal trafficking activities using Dominican contacts and money laundering outlets under the cover of hidden land operations,

bernie sierra
October 20, 2023 11:45 am
Reply to  Paul Tierney

You cannot import guns to the Dominican Republic. It is forbidden for civilians to import guns to the Dominican Republic. The problem is that the US customs doesn’t do a good inspection on what is being ship outside of their country. Way too many guns and ammunition are sent to the Dominican Republic from the US by using boxes and tanks that family sent to their relatives from the US.

luis aquino
October 20, 2023 1:51 pm
Reply to  bernie sierra

yeah but they are not cheap, they cost exponentially more than in the US, most of the time 10X more, adding a dominican step that would multiply the cost that much, does not makes sence.

bernie sierra
October 20, 2023 11:41 am

The problem is that the US customs authorities don’t care of what is packed on a ship bound to other countries. They don’t do a good inspection to detect illegal guns being ship on the containers. This is why so many guns are shipped from the US to other countries.

October 20, 2023 12:02 pm
Reply to  bernie sierra

No country cares about what is shipped OUT of their country. Why should they? It is the receiving country’s job to catch contraband coming in.

luis aquino
October 20, 2023 1:52 pm
Reply to  Edward

arms export is a crime in the US, if the US was serious about enforcing its OWN laws this problem would not exist.

Dominican Dan
October 20, 2023 9:55 pm
Reply to  luis aquino

I am just thinking out loud. If people can blame another country’s exports, why are these same people blaming the import country’s Customs department? Is it not the job of Customs to find illegal imports? Those types of weapons are illegal to export and import in both countries. I am just using logic.

Dave Lopes
October 21, 2023 12:14 am

Oh please, the dominican involvement is miniscule. The vast majority of the guns are coming directly from the USA.