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October 12, 2018Chicago, IL, United StatesFirearms, Ammunition and Explosives

Chicago-area man pleads guilty to trying to illegally export guns, ammunition to Haiti

CHICAGO — A suburban Chicago man admitted in federal court Tuesday that he tried to illegally export nearly two dozen guns and ammunition to Haiti from Illinois.

This guilty plea was announced by the following: U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch Jr., Northern District of Illinois; Special Agent in Charge James M. Gibbons, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Special Agent in Charge Celinez Nunez, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and Special Agent in Charge Dan Clutch, U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement. Valuable assistance was also provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Illinois State Police. 

Patrick Germain, 45, of Evanston, Illinois, pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly and fraudulently attempting to export firearms contrary to the laws and regulations of the United States. 

In a written plea agreement, Germain admitted that in 2016 he planned to illegally export 16 handguns, five shotguns, a rifle and ammunition from Evanston to Haiti by way of Miami, Florida. 

Germain built a plywood container, filled it with the guns and ammunition, and then hid it inside a cargo van, the plea agreement states. 

The van was then delivered to a shipping company in Miami, but law enforcement seized it before it was transported to Haiti.

According to the plea agreement, in June 2016 Germain purchased the firearms and ammunition from dealers in Illinois.   

Germain also purchased three vehicles, including the cargo van that he would later use to transport the concealed firearms and ammunition.  He then hired an Illinois company to deliver the three vehicles to Miami, where Germain had arranged for a Florida shipping company to transport the vehicles to Haiti.

When asked by the Illinois company why the cargo van appeared to be overweight, Germain represented to the driver that the added weight was due to furniture in the backseat. 

Germain also misled the Florida shipping company by not notifying them that the cargo van was filled with guns and ammunition, according to the plea agreement.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Dunne, Northern District of Illinois.

Updated: 10/16/2018