2 charged with smuggling guns home to Haiti from Jacksonville

Agent-x - June 20 2012, 2:08 PM

According to m.jacksonville-com on 20 June 2012 article by Jim Schoettler, Federal agents arrested two Haitian men in Jacksonville this morning and charged them with illegally smuggling 13 guns to their homeland, with plans to smuggle more than 100 other weapons there soon.

Niyo Baptisme and Jude Fontus were charged in the case and made an initial appearance in court this morning.

They are being held without bond pending a detention hearing Monday, according to court records obtained by the Times-Union.

Authorities said that Baptisme's wife, Anne Marie, was also arrested in the scheme.

Records about her were not available.

The records don't indicate what authorities believe the guns were being used for, but the two men told undercover agents they were being sent to a security company.

The arrests culminated a one-month investigation led by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives office based in Jacksonville.

Agents using a multiple sale database found that 12 9mm handguns and another weapon linked to the two men were purchased in April at St. Nicholas Gun and Sporting Goods at 4630 Blanding Blvd.

Agents interviewed store employees and set up a sting operation in which the agents posed as gun sellers to provide the men with additional firearms.

The men sought a second purchase of 15 weapons and also said they sought at least 100 more.

The 13 guns purchased in April had already been illegally shipped to Haiti, court records show. The men indicated the guns were shipped by boat in a box that included books.

The boat originated at JaxPort.

It is illegal to export weapons without the proper license, which had not been obtained.

Even with such a license, it is illegal to send firearms to certain countries like Haiti for private use.

Today's arrests follow the May 31 bust of another Haitian on charges of smuggling guns to his country from South Florida.

Authorities said Vladimir Jean-Baptiste began smuggling guns in 2009 and had sent about 30 to his homeland before he was caught.

According to the South Florida SunSentinel, prosecutor Michael Walleisa said Jean-Baptiste told investigators that Haitians needed protection and he was starting a security firm in the country.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James Hopkins said Jean-Baptiste should be detained pending trial.


REPLY to this message

Return to Message List