Powerful Haitian Gang Leader Joly Jailed for 35 Years

The leader of a violent Haitian gang who was connected to the kidnapping of 16 Americans was sentenced last week to 35 years in prison for gunrunning and money laundering.

According to a June 24 news release from the Department of Justice, 31-year-old Joly Germine, the self-described “King” of the 400 Mawozo gang, was sentenced in the US District Court for the District of Columbia to 420 months in prison.

Germain, also known as “Yonyon,” pleaded guilty in late January to smuggling weapons and laundering the ransoms paid for US citizens kidnapped in Haiti in October 2021.

In his sentencing, Germain asked for forgiveness and leniency, with the defense requesting a sentence of no more than 17-and-a-half years.

Germain’s “wife,” Florida resident Eliande Tunis, the self-described “Queen” of the 400 Mawozo gang, also pleaded guilty in late January and was sentenced in early June to 150 months in federal prison.

Known for kidnapping, drug and weapons trafficking, murders, rapes, and armed robberies, 400 Mawozo (roughly “400 Simpletons”) is one of Haiti’s most powerful and violent criminal gangs, controlling the eastern region and surrounding areas of the capital city of Port-au-Prince.

According to FBI Director Christopher Wray, the gang not only terrorizes its communities but also targets American citizens who live, work, or travel to Haiti.

According to a UN report, in the fall of 2021, three shipments of smuggled weapons, valued at roughly $28,000, and ammunition arrived in Haiti shortly before 400 Mawozo kidnapped 17 Christian missionaries, 16 of whom were US citizens.

Federal prosecutors said Germain and his girlfriend Tunis, along with two other defendants, purchased and supplied weapons to the gang from March 2021 until November 2021, including AR-15s, AK-47s, and a .50-caliber rifle.

While Germain was in a Haitian prison at the time serving a life sentence, he still directed operations via unmonitored cell phones.

Germain also faces separate charges related to the kidnapping of US citizens.