HomeNewsFrom Negotiations to Sanctions, a Busy Time for Crime in Haiti

From Negotiations to Sanctions, a Busy Time for Crime in Haiti


After Haitian authorities reclaimed control of the country's largest fuel terminal, a flurry of sanctions and arrest warrants against politicians and gang leaders materialized in the past week.

Below, InSight Crime analyzes several recent developments involving some of the country's most serious criminal actors.

Authorities Recapture Terminal Varreux

After months of blockades on the Port-au-Prince fuel depot, Haitian authorities retook control of Terminal Varreux on November 3, reported Haiti Libre. Gang fighters under G9 and Family (G9 an fanmi - G9) leader Jimmy Chérizier, alias "Barbecue," had been holding the terminal hostage since September, blocking fuel delivery.

Barbecue eased the blockade after alleged negotiations with Prime Minster Ariel Henry's administration, mediated by politicians from the government's Konstwi Lavi party, reported CNN. Haiti's government has denied negotiating with G9 to reopen the fuel terminal, but a Henry administration official told CNN that the Prime Minster did meet with the alleged mediators.

SEE ALSO: Highways and Mills - Haiti Gangs Battle for Control of Key Infrastructure

If true, this would be the second time the government has been forced to come to the bargaining table with Barbecue, who previously blockaded the terminal between October and November 2021. Barbecue finally allowed the terminal to reopen after brokering a deal with the government. Though details of the negotiations remain unclear, the gang had publicly demanded $100,000, InSight Crime previously reported.

In a video widely circulated on social media on November 6, Barbecue permitted trucks to enter the fuel terminal. "Once again, the drivers and employees of the Varreux terminal can come down without fear," Chérizier said in the video. "We've decided among us ... to allow for the gas to be released."

Despite Barbecue possibly securing himself another payday in exchange for reopening the terminal, the Haitian National police praised themselves for securing the site. 

Establishment Politicians Sanctioned

Against this backdrop, the United States and Canada delivered blows against two senior Haitian politicians linked to drug trafficking and financing gangs. In separate actions, the countries announced sanctions targeting Joseph Lambert, the sitting president of the Haitian Senate, and Youri Latortue, a former Haitian senator and a longtime politician.

On November 4, the Canadian government sanctioned both men for "enabling the illegal activities of armed criminal gangs, including through money laundering and other acts of corruption," according to a statement from the Ministry of Global Affairs.

SEE ALSO: Haitian Gang Leader, 'Barbecue,' Targeted in UN Sanctions Resolution

Shortly after, the US Department of the Treasury and the US Department of State sanctioned the two Haitian politicians for involvement in corruption, drug-trafficking activities, and human rights violations. The pair are accused of using "their official positions to traffic drugs and collaborated with criminal and gang networks to undermine the rule of law in Haiti," according to a press release from the Department of the Treasury.

Lambert allegedly used his position to lead a trafficking network that moved cocaine from Colombia to Haiti while guaranteeing his collaborators impunity for drug trafficking charges in Haiti. Latortue is also accused of trafficking cocaine from Colombia to Haiti and ordering others to engage in violence on his behalf. Both politicians have a rich history of corruption accusations. A classified 2010 US diplomatic cable released via Wikileaks referred to Latortue as possibly "the most brazenly corrupt of leading Haitian politicians," reported Al Jazeera.

Lambert and Latortue are only the tip of the iceberg. Other Haitian officials have been sanctioned in the past, including officials from Haitian President Jovenel Moïse's administration, accused of coordinating with Barbecue to execute the La Saline massacre in 2018, which left 59 Haitians dead.

Yet one senior politician dismissed the allegations against the two as politically biased. "For Lambert and Latortue, we are talking about acts they allegedly committed 10, 15 years ago. The Haitian people don't care about that," a former interior minister, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons, told InSight Crime.

"The Haitian people want to be able to go out freely, send their children to school, go to buy food. This decision will have no impact on the Haitian people," he said.

US Targets More Gang Leaders

The US Department of Justice unsealed the criminal charges of seven leaders of five Haitian gangs, including some involved in kidnapping US citizens, in October 2021, according to a press release from the Justice Department.

In a coordinated action, the State Department announced a million-dollar reward for information leading to the arrest of each of the three men accused of kidnapping. This includes two leaders of 400 Mawozo, Joseph Wilson, alias "Lanmò Sanjou," and Jermaine Stephenson, alias "Gaspiyay." Vitel'homme Innocent, a leader of the Kraze Barye gang, is also listed due to his coordination with 400 Mawozo in the kidnapping of 17 missionaries in Port-au-Prince in October 2021.

SEE ALSO: The Rise of Haiti's Violent Rural Gangs

Leaders of the Gran Ravine, Village de Dieu, and Kokorat san Ras gangs also face charges. InSight Crime has previously reported on each group listed in the press release's kidnapping activities.

The sanctions and arrest warrants represent an increased trend of the international community targeting Haiti's most infamous criminals to help the country control continuous chaos. In October, the United Nations sanctioned Barbecue after he blockaded the Varreux Terminal, which helped to stoke a massive fuel shortage in the country.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


Related Content


With cries of corruption mounting against Guatemala’s president, the country’s Attorney General has taken minimal action and instead ramped up…


The dismissal of Juan Francisco Sandoval, Guatemala's leading anti-corruption prosecutor who has since fled the country, has drawn condemnation at…

HAITI / 19 AUG 2021

Former police officer Jimmy Chérizier, alias "Barbecue," is one of Haiti’s most prolific gang leader and head of the G9…

About InSight Crime


All Eyes on Ecuador

2 JUN 2023

Our coverage of organized crime in Ecuador continues to be a valuable resource for international and local news outlets. Internationally, Reuters cited our 2022 Homicide Round-Up,…


Open Position: Social Media and Engagement Strategist

27 MAY 2023

InSight Crime is looking for a Social Media and Engagement Strategist who will be focused on maintaining and improving InSight Crime’s reputation and interaction with its audiences through publishing activities…


Venezuela Coverage Receives Great Reception

27 MAY 2023

Several of InSight Crime’s most recent articles about Venezuela have been well received by regional media. Our article on Venezuela’s colectivos expanding beyond their political role to control access to…


InSight Crime's Chemical Precursor Report Continues

19 MAY 2023

For the second week in a row, our investigation into the flow of precursor chemicals for the manufacture of synthetic drugs in Mexico has been cited by multiple regional media…


InSight Crime’s Chemical Precursor Report Widely Cited


We are proud to see that our recently published investigation into the supply chain of chemical precursors feeding Mexico’s synthetic drug production has been warmly received.