A Haitian gang chief charged with kidnapping three U.S residents at gunpoint in two separate incidents within the unstable Caribbean nation has been extradited to america, Haiti police stated.
Jhon Peter Fleronvil was extradited on Monday, in response to Haiti Nationwide Police, which posted pictures of him in handcuffs on its social media pages. Fleronvil had been in custody since September 11, 2022, when he was arrested within the northeastern Haitian metropolis of Fort-Liberté whereas making an attempt to journey to the neighboring Dominican Republic by crossing the Ouanaminthe-Dajabón border.
An FBI arrest warrant and affidavit Fleronvil, whose first identify is spelled “John” in U.S. court docket paperwork, was filed within the District of Colombia federal court docket on Nov. 7. There isn’t a indication within the court docket information, nonetheless, of his look but in federal court docket and a spokesperson for the FBI didn’t reply to a request for remark.
Fleronvil is a member of the brutal rural gang Kokorat san Ras. The armed group was just lately recognized in a United Nations sanctions report on Haiti, and operates within the nation’s rice rising Artibonite Valley between Port-au-Prince to the south and the town of Port-de-Paix to the northwest.
The gang has been accused of committing acts of maximum violence which have compelled individuals to desert their properties and farmland as members perform armed robberies, assassinations, rapes and kidnappings for ransom. The gang is understood to torture victims and kill them when ransoms aren’t paid, the U.N. reported. It’s amongst two of essentially the most vicious gangs working within the rural valley, which has turn into a high-risk space for anybody who ventures there, together with police, who routinely have interaction in gun battles and are topic to armed assaults.
U.S. authorities say in July of 2022 throughout one such gun battle with police, two U.S. residents, a married couple visiting household in Port-de-Paix, was kidnapped by armed gang members and later held hostage by Fleronvil and one other chief of his gang, Jean Renald Dolcin, till a $10,500 ransom was paid. The subsequent day a 3rd U.S. citizen was taken captive by the gang within the city of Tibwadom whereas in path to Port-de-Paix, and held in the identical location, U.S. authorities stated. That sufferer was additionally launched after a ransom fee.
Gang violence just lately compelled the evacuation of dozens of sick infants and pregnant girls from a hospital within the nation’s largest slum, and led to extra Haitians being displaced within the capital.
On Wednesday, Martin Griffiths, the United Nations under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency aid coordinator, referred to the assaults in a put up on X.
“Very involved concerning the state of affairs in Port-au-Prince the place violent clashes final week left dozens of individuals lifeless, together with youngsters,” he stated. “Houses have been burned down, households have been displaced and hospital sufferers needed to be evacuated. Individuals in #Haiti need to work and dwell in dignity.”
With assaults, sexual violence and kidnappings more and more on the rise in Haiti, the place gangs now management not less than 80% of metropolitan Port-au-Prince, the State Division introduced final week that U.S. authorities are “dedicated to making sure that these concerned within the kidnapping and killing of U.S. residents face extreme penalties for his or her legal actions.”
This has led to the indictments of a number of Haitian gang members and leaders. Final November, Fleronvil was amongst seven gang leaders indicted for his or her alleged function within the kidnappings of U.S. residents in Haiti. Three of the leaders have been concerned within the abduction of 16 Christian missionaries, the Division of Justice stated.
That group, which included 5 youngsters, was kidnapped in Croix-des-Bouquets whereas getting back from visiting an orphanage and most of them have been held captive for 61 days after a ransom was paid. The leaders of the 400 Mawozo gang, Lanmo Sanjou, aka Joseph Wilson, and Jermaine Stephenson, aka Gaspiyay, have been charged within the missionaries’ kidnapping together with Vitel’homme Harmless, chief of the Kraze Barye gang.
Final week, the FBI announced that it had doubled a $1 million reward to $2 million for info resulting in the arrest of Harmless, who was additionally positioned on the FBI’s Ten Most Needed Fugitives record. The gang chief’s face can also be splattered on billboards throughout South Florida as a part of a technique that the FBI hopes will result in his seize in Haiti the place his growing violence and kidnappings compelled the U.S. Embassy in Tabarre in July to curtail companies, withdraw non-emergency personnel and order U.S. residents to go away the nation.
Miami Herald federal courts reporter Jay Weaver contributed to this report.
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