Firearms trafficker attempts to smuggle guns to Haiti | USAO-NDGA

ATLANTA – Jacques Mathieu has pleaded guilty to attempting to export 12 firearms and approximately 36,000 rounds of ammunition to Haiti by concealing the contraband in a car he intended to ship to the island.

“Firearms traffickers help fuel violence on our streets and outside the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “Alert agents found the weapons and ammunition and stopped the shipment before it reached its intended destination.”

“Firearms trafficking poses a very serious threat to the safety of our communities in the U.S. and abroad,” said Arthur Peralta, Special Agent in Charge of ATF in Atlanta.  “Jacques Mathieu’s attempts to illegally export firearms is a significant concern for the people of Haiti and we will do everything we can do to stop these illegal firearms from falling into the wrong hands.”

“Special Agents of the Office of Export Enforcement are committed to combating the illicit smuggling of firearms and ammunition internationally,” said P. Lee Smith, Performing the Non-exclusive Functions and Duties of the Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement (OEE) at the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry of Security.  “Firearms and ammunition illegally exported from the United States often end up in the hands of violent criminals and harm the most vulnerable communities, in this case in the Republic of Haiti. OEE is committed to aggressively investigating international firearms smuggling networks and working with our law enforcement partners to bring violators to justice.”

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court: In September 2019, Mathieu, a Haitian national, attempted to ship a 2007 Suzuki Grand Vitara to Haiti via the Port of Palm Beach, Florida. He reported on export shipping documents that the car contained 12 boxes of used clothing. However, Customs and Border Patrol (CPB) and Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement agents searched the car and discovered 12 firearms and approximately 36,000 rounds of ammunition concealed in the boxes.

Jacques Mathieu, 51, of Tucker, Georgia pleaded guilty to the offense of attempting to export firearms and ammunition to the Republic of Haiti. Sentencing is scheduled for January 8, 2021, at 10:00 a.m., before U.S. District Judge Michael L. Brown.

This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry of Security.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Keen is prosecuting the case.

This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). In keeping with the Attorney General’s mission to reduce violent crime, the Northern District of Georgia’s PSN program focuses on prosecuting those individuals who most significantly drive violence in our communities, and supports and fosters partnerships between law enforcement and schools, the faith community, and local community leaders to prevent and deter future criminal conduct.

This case was also brought as part of Project Guardian, a national Department of Justice initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws, including those related to firearms trafficking.  More information about Project Guardian can be found here: https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.

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