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U.S. Gun Trafficking Under Scrutiny as Weapons Fuel Gang Violence in Haiti

A steady flow of U.S. guns is fueling rampant gang violence in Haiti, with the country’s customs agency recently seizing shipping containers holding 18 “weapons of war,” four handguns and nearly 15,000 rounds of ammunition that were shipped from the United States to the Episcopal Church of Haiti, which said the documents had been falsified and that it had nothing to do with the containers, Reuters reports. Police investigating gun smuggling this month also arrested a state prosecutor and a prominent lawyer who according to media reports served as an advisor to the justice minister.

Guns brought illegally to Haiti are often used in gang wars including a recent turf battle in the town of Cite Soleil, which left more than 471 people killed, injured or unaccounted for, according to the United Nations. Ronald Lareche, a former senator who served on the parliamentary security commission, said most of the weapons are smuggled from the United States to Port-au-Prince. The National Commission for Disarmament, Dismantling and Reintegration, a government agency created to address gun violence, estimated in 2019 that there were some 500,000 illegal weapons in Haiti.

A steady flow of U.S. guns is fueling rampant gang violence in Haiti, with the country’s customs agency recently seizing shipping containers holding 18 “weapons of war,” four handguns and nearly 15,000 rounds of ammunition that were shipped from the United States to the Episcopal Church of Haiti, which said the documents had been falsified and that it had nothing to do with the containers, Reuters reports. Police investigating gun smuggling this month also arrested a state prosecutor and a prominent lawyer who according to media reports served as an advisor to the justice minister.

Guns brought illegally to Haiti are often used in gang wars including a recent turf battle in the town of Cite Soleil, which left more than 471 people killed, injured or unaccounted for, according to the United Nations. Ronald Lareche, a former senator who served on the parliamentary security commission, said most of the weapons are smuggled from the United States to Port-au-Prince. The National Commission for Disarmament, Dismantling and Reintegration, a government agency created to address gun violence, estimated in 2019 that there were some 500,000 illegal weapons in Haiti.