Leader of gang that kidnapped local family in Haiti extradited to US.

May 5, 2022

Cheryl Noecker gets a ‘welcome back’ hug during a local celebration last January. Husband Ray and son Shelden are pictured behind her.

Leader of gang that kidnapped local family in Haiti extradited to US.

The leader of a violent gang that kidnapped a local family that was in Haiti on a missionary trip last fall has been indicted on criminal charges, according to national reports.

The US attorney’s office for the District of Columbia alleges that Germine Joly, the leader of the 400 Mawozo gang, participated in a criminal conspiracy to smuggle firearms and munitions to the gang in violation of US export laws, according to the Washington Post.

The entire Noecker family pictured, left to right, are son-in-law Monte Wadel, Veronica Wadel, Kimberly Noecker, Juanitta Noecker, Brandyn Noecker — hostage, Kasondra Noecker — hostage, Courtney Noecker — hostage, Shelden Noecker — hostage, Cheryl Noecker — hostage, Ray Noecker, Cherilyn Noecker — hostage and Michelle Noecker.

Joly and three others, including a US citizen and two Haitian nationals based in Florida, were charged with conspiracy to violate export control laws and to defraud the United States, violating export control laws, money laundering and smuggling, according to a 28-count indictment unsealed Wednesday, May 4.

Cheryl Noecker of Shelby and her five children — two of whom are adults — were among the 17 missionaries snatched, Oct. 16, and held captive in Haiti by the violent gang during a two-month ordeal. 

Related story here:  https://www.oceanacountypress.com/2022/01/03/father-of-kidnap…re-mission-trips/

Several Noecker family members enjoy a local celebration luncheon following their safe return to freedom.

They were abducted shortly after visiting an orphanage in Croix-des-Bouquets. Cheryl’s husband, Ray Noecker, was not snatched, because he stayed back at the mission camp the day of the kidnapping to prepare his teaching materials and get ready for the next day’s Sunday service.

Their captors demanded and received $17 million in ransom. 

Cheryl and her youngest child, 6-year-old Shelden, were among three hostages released, Dec. 5. Brandyn, 16, Kasondra, 14, Courtney, 18, and Cherilyn, 27, were among the 12 hostages who escaped, Dec. 16. The Noecker family attends the Hart Dunkard Brethren Church.

The remaining captive missionaries found freedom by making a daring overnight escape, walking 10 miles through briars and thorns with a baby and other children in tow, according officials from Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries that sponsored the trip.

The group of 12 navigated in the moonlight to reach safety, officials said during a press conference. The details of their journey to safety came after the news, Dec. 16, that the missionaries were free.

Joly, 29, also known as “Yonyon,” was flown to the United States Tuesday, May 3, after a request from US authorities last month, the Washington Post reported.

Ray Noecker and his youngest son, Shelden.

A diplomat from the Dominican Republic was freed Wednesday after he disappeared last week in a 400 Mawozo stronghold in what officials called an “apparent” kidnapping while he was traveling to the Haiti-Dominican Republic border. 

“Gangs have long been a presence in Haiti, but they’ve assumed greater power in recent years, controlling large parts of the country and holding fuel supplies and aid for earthquake victims hostage — mostly with impunity,” states the Washington Post. “They’ve filled a leadership vacuum after the asassination in July of Haitian President Jovenel Moise.

“By any measure, 400 Mawozo is among the most violent of Haiti’s gangs. The group is feared for its use of rape, extortion, assassination and the mass seizures of occupied cars and busloads of people. It has stepped over what other gangs have considered red lines, targeting churches, members of the clergy and young children.

Ray Noecker addresses the large group that attended to local celebration of the family’s freedom last January.

“Analysts say that Joly ran 400 Mawozo — whose name loosely translates to ‘400 simpletons’ or ‘400 inexperienced men’ in Creole — from his prison cell in Port-au-Prince, where he had a cellphone, threw birthday parties for himself and dressed to the nines.

“He appeared virtually before Magistrate Judge Robin M. Meriweather on Wednesday and was remanded into custody. The three Florida-based defendants were arrested in October and November and pleaded not guilty. They are detained pending trial.

“Haitian police said in a statement on Facebook that a warrant issued by the US District Court in DC charged Joly with kidnapping US citizens for ransom. US authorities said the kidnapping is still being investigated.”

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