(TheLibertyRevolution.com)- On Wednesday, officials from the United States stated that they had seen an increase in weapons smuggling into Haiti and the Caribbean over the past few months. They promised to increase their efforts to combat the trade, fueling rampant gang violence in Haiti and rising crime rates in the region.
The announcement comes in the wake of several bloody outbreaks of gang violence in Haiti, which included gun battles in the downtown area of Port-au-Prince. It also comes at a time when other countries, such as The Bahamas and Jamaica, report an increase in gun-related homicides.
According to Anthony Salisbury, the Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Miami, not only have they seen a marked uptick in the number of weapons, but a serious increase in the caliber and type of firearms illegally trafficked.
He said this while officers joined him from various agencies, including the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection, they have been ratcheting up their efforts to halt the flow of illicit weapons into Haiti and the Caribbean.
Handguns and a variety of semi-automatic weapons, including at least one sniper rifle, were among the items on exhibit as part of the collection of seized armaments en route to Haiti.
In most cases, export licenses from the relevant authorities in the United States are necessary to legally ship firearms out of the country. The arms embargo imposed on Haiti in the 1990s is still in effect, even though it has been modified to include some allowances for supplying firearms to Haiti’s security forces.
It is common practice in the United States to purchase firearms through intermediaries known as “straw buyers.” Some of these “straw buyers” claim to be the firearms’ final owners, but they then go on to illegally export the guns.
Anger has been stoked over the consistent flow of firearms in Haiti, the most recent of which involved the finding firearms in a shipping container classified as church supplies.
According to a spokeswoman for the Haitian police, Frantz Cole, a priest of the Episcopal Church of Haiti, was taken into custody on Wednesday as part of the investigation into the firearms seizure in July.
Samuel Madistin, the attorney representing the church, declined to comment on the matter.