RALEIGH, NC (AP) — A U.S. Marine caught smuggling guns into Haiti told investigators he wanted to help the country’s military learn marksmanship and defeat “thugs” causing instability there, according to a criminal complaint.
The criminal complaint filed last week in a North Carolina federal court charges Marine Sgt. Jacques Yves Duroseau with smuggling firearms. Prosecutors say Duroseau flew from North Carolina to Haiti with baggage including eight firearms — at least five of which he bought himself — but lacked needed authorization to take them abroad.
Duroseau, an active-duty U.S. Marine, and another unnamed person departed an airport in New Bern, North Carolina, on Nov. 11, Veterans Day, bound for Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, with two plastic containers of firearms and a third with ammunition, according to the court filing.
Duroseau had filled out a firearm declaration form with American Airlines stating he was carrying unloaded guns but didn’t have permission from the U.S. Marines to leave the country or permission from U.S. authorities to export firearms, according to the complaint signed by Homeland Security Special Agent Charles Kitchen.
Haitian authorities took Duroseau into custody and ultimately, he was questioned by U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents in that country.
The criminal complaint said he told the agents he had traveled there to “defeat the thugs that have been creating a little bit part of the instability in Haiti.” In describing the eight firearms, he told the agents he “picked every gun” to teach marksmanship to the Haitian Army, according to the court documents.
The Miami Herald first reported on what was in the criminal complaint.
The firearms included five handguns and three rifles, and they were able to trace at least five of them to purchases made by Duroseau, according to court documents. Authorities say they found a 2018 receipt for one of the guns, which was bought at a store in North Carolina, in his trash.
Kitchen stated that Duroseau also brought body armor and an officer’s uniform with him.
The complaint said he has served as a firearms instructor and knew that bringing the guns to Haiti was illegal. He told investigators he knew he would be arrested in Haiti and that it was part of a plan to get attention to make a statement, according to the court documents.
The U.S. Marine Corps confirmed that Deroseau is a machine gunner assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, which is based at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. He enlisted in 2011, according to a statement from the Marines.
The statement said the allegations are inconsistent with Marine values and “if substantiated, the situation will be expediently, firmly, and fairly adjudicated.”
The NCIS said in a statement that it couldn’t release further information about the investigation.
American Airlines spokeswoman Martha Pantin said it appears Duroseau filled out American’s forms to ship guns and ammunition, which mostly occurs on domestic flights. She said American complies with federal regulations covering the shipment of guns and customer service agents verify that gun cases are locked before the bags are screened. She said employees do not open gun cases.
The criminal complaint said the other person with Duroseau, who wasn’t identified, told agents Duroseau “was in contact with the U.S. Embassy in Haiti to tell them that he wanted to be President of Haiti.” The criminal complaint doesn’t list any charges against the second person.
The electronic court docket doesn’t identify a defense attorney who could speak on Duroseau’s behalf. A spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office, Don Connelly, declined to answer questions about whether Duroseau had a lawyer or when he would be brought back to the U.S. The docket also lists a variation of his surname as Durosau, but the indictment refers to him as Duroseau throughout.
A federal magistrate judge issued an arrest warrant for Duroseau last week and asked the U.S. Marshal’s Office to serve it.