Suburban Chicago Man Guilty of Trying to Illegally Export Guns and Ammunition to Haiti
CHICAGO — A suburban Chicago man has admitted in federal court that he tried to illegally export nearly two dozen guns and ammunition to Haiti from Illinois.
PATRICK GERMAIN, 45, of Evanston, Ill., 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, Fla. 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 could be transported to Haiti.
The guilty plea was entered Tuesday in federal court in Chicago. It carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow set sentencing for Jan. 29, 2019.
The guilty plea was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Celinez Nunez, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Dan Clutch, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement; and James M. Gibbons, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. Valuable assistance was provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Illinois State Police. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Dunne.
According to the plea agreement, Germain in June 2016 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.