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Press Release

Haitian National Sentenced to Federal Prison for Firearms Trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado

DENVER – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces that Peniel Olibris, age 32, of Denver, was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison, plus one year of supervised release, for smuggling goods, specifically firearms, from the United States to Haiti.

According to the plea agreement, the defendant came to the attention of law enforcement in October 2019 when a manager at a firearms store in Arvada reported a suspicious customer. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) began investigating Mr. Olibris’ other recent firearm purchases and learned he had recently purchased a number of pistols from another firearms store.  ATF agents also determined, after Mr. Olibris’ background check was delayed, he went in to purchase firearms with an associate. In total, between February 2019 and June 2020, the two purchased 77 firearms. Law enforcement agents spoke with Mr. Olibris in July 2020, at which time he admitted to shipping “a few” firearms to Haiti, where he is from and where some of his family members still live. He explained that he placed the firearms in boxes inside of cars, and had the drivers take the cars from Colorado to Florida. In Florida, one of Mr. Olibris’ associates coordinated with the shipping company to send the cars containing firearms to Haiti.  Mr. Olibris explained that he was trying to obtain a federal firearms license that would enable him to sell firearms but had not yet done so. According to documentation from the shipping company located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Mr. Olibris shipped thirteen cars to Haiti between September 30, 2019, and May 29, 2020. The terms and conditions for each shipment required Mr. Olibris to affirm the vehicles did not contain firearms, which are “prohibited by law.”

United States District Court Judge Regina M. Rodriguez sentenced Peniel Olibris on January 12, 2023.

“Illegal firearms trafficking – whether within the United States or across international borders – poses a serious threat to the safety of our communities,” said United States Attorney Cole Finegan.  “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to disrupt the flow of these firearms, which have the potential to contribute to the incidence of violent crime.”

“The illegal flow of firearms fuels violence and places innocent people in danger and is responsible for the loss of lives daily,” said ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge Kirk Howard. “In our continued partnerships with Homeland Security Investigations and other federal, state and local partners, we will continue to vigorously pursue illegal firearms traffickers and hold them accountable for their reckless and illegal trades.”

“This sentencing sends the very clear message that HSI and our partners will relentlessly investigate and prosecute those who try to transport weapons across state lines with the ultimate goal of smuggling them overseas,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, special agent in charge, HSI Denver. “Our dedicated special agents and intelligence professionals will stop at nothing to ensure that weapons never make it into the hands of dangerous criminal organizations.” 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Laura Cramer-Babycz and Albert Buchman handled the prosecution of the case.

CASE NUMBER: 22-cr-00119


Deborah Takahara
Public Affairs Specialist

Updated January 12, 2023

Firearms Offenses