U.S. Missionaries’ Attorney Faces Extradition

The attorney for U.S. missionaries accused of kidnapping 33 Haitian children following the recent devastating earthquake in Haiti will have a hearing this month on a U.S. extradition request. Up until this point it was unclear whether the lawyer, Jorge Puello, would be extradited to the U.S., where he faces smuggling charges, or to El Salvador, where he is accussed of running a prostitution ring, and other crimes including crimes against children; sexual exploitation of minors; organized crime; and human trafficking.

According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Puello is wanted for allegedly smuggling illegal immigrants and for probation violations related to fraud charges.

Puello was initially known for being the legal adviser for the 10 U.S. citizens who were detained in Haiti on child-kidnapping charges last February. It was not until later that authorities identified him as the man wanted in El Salvador.

Puello originally attracted international attention when he provided the missionaries with food, medicine and legal assistance. One of the missionaries’ Haitian lawyer has stated that Puello absconded with $30,000 in legal fees. This money was supposedly raised by the Americans for Fleurant.

There has been an extradition treaty in place between Haiti and the United States since 1905. That treaty pertains to the mutual extradition of fugitives from justice. Since that time there have been additional treaties put into effect between the U.S. and Haiti to augment the powers of both nations in regards to law enforcement. In 1984 a treaty went into effect between the two countries which provided for the interdiction of narcotics trafficking. In 1996 a mutual legal assistance treaty became effective between the two nations.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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