Top Ten Fugitive Vitel'Homme Innocent
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Ellen Ferrante: The FBI, along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Department of State, added Vitel’Homme Innocent to its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list on November 15, 2023.
Vitel’Homme is the leader of the Kraze Barye gang based out of Haiti. In 2021 and 2022, Vitel’Homme was allegedly involved in kidnapping U.S. citizens and holding them hostage.
The U.S. State Department is offering a reward of up to $2 million for information leading to his arrest and/or conviction.
Tune in to this episode to learn more about Vitel’Homme and how you can help us catch this fugitive.
I’m Ellen Ferrante, and this is Inside the FBI.
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Ferrante: Vitel’Homme is the leader of Kraze Barye, a gang that operates in the Torcelle and Tabarre areas of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. Kraze Barye also partners with other gangs, including one called 400 Mawozo. The FBI estimates there are at least dozens of members between the Kraze Barye and 400 Mawozo gangs.
Mark McCormick is an assistant special agent in charge at the FBI Miami office working to find Vitel’Homme. McCormick explains:
Mark McCormick: So, these gangs are part of a loose coalition or umbrella of gangs that operate in and around Port-au-Prince. The 400 Mawozo and the crazy Kraze Barye gangs operate under this coalition that's led by a gang member we refer to as “Barbeque.” They’re very violent gangs, but they seek crimes of opportunity, such as kidnappings for ransom, which we refer to as KFRs, cargo theft, and other crimes where they can profit from them.
They try to control very specific areas for each individual gang. So, some will try to control the ports, or even major roads in and out of Port-au-Prince in order to profit from those crimes of opportunity. The main goal is money. And so, if they control the ports and what comes in and out of the ports, they can rob or take over the cargo and or rob people in and out of Port-au-Prince or even kidnap them and then hold them for ransom. They specifically seek out U.S. persons because there’s a perceived wealth from U.S. persons/U.S. citizens traveling in and around Port-au-Prince.
Ferrante: While these gangs have been around for years, they’ve recently become even more violent and protective of their territories.
McCormick: Due to the economic situation, the gangs do heavily recruit and they’re very territorial—and so they work to defend that particular territory and they recruit from within that territory to control the major roads in and out of the region.
Ferrante: Vitel’Homme came to the attention of the FBI in October 2021 when Kraze Barye and the 400 Mawozo gang allegedly kidnapped 16 U.S. citizens who were serving as Christian missionaries near Port-au-Prince. The group included five children—the youngest was 8 months old.
The hostages were allegedly held at gunpoint, and most remained captive for 61 days before escaping.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the District of Columbia charged Vitel’Homme and other gang leaders for their alleged roles in this conspiracy.
Then, in October 2022, Vitel’Homme allegedly ordered gang members to kidnap two U.S. citizens from their home in Haiti. Armed gang members allegedly forced their way into the victims’ residence and attempted to kidnap them.
During the kidnapping, the gang members allegedly shot and killed one of the victims. The other victim was taken into captivity and held hostage at an undisclosed location in Haiti, while Vitel’Homme participated in ransom negotiations in exchange for the victim’s release.
About three weeks later, the gang released the remaining victim after the victim’s family paid a ransom. The District of Columbia charged Vitel’Homme for his alleged role in these crimes.
McCormick: Vitel’Homme has a very violent history, and he’s very unpredictable. One of the things that makes him extremely dangerous is the number of gang members that he operates [with] who also have a tendency towards violence. And they are very well-armed. He—Vitel’Homme—has a lot of influence over the gangs, and he has shown violence towards U.S. persons, to include kidnappings and even murder.
The FBI has the full might of our investigative teams behind this investigation and our resolve will not waver until Vitel’Homme is brought to justice. Of course, like any fugitive, if he would choose to peacefully turn himself in, we would gladly welcome Vitel’Homme’s surrender.
Ferrante: Vitel’Homme is 37 years old and has black hair and brown eyes. He is between 5'7" and 5'10" and weighs about 150 pounds.
Vitel’Homme is believed to be in Haiti and has ties to other countries throughout the Caribbean.
If you have any information concerning Vitel’Homme, please contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate, or call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (or 1-800-225-5324). You can also submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov. Tipsters can remain anonymous.
Ferrante: This has been another production of Inside the FBI. You can follow us on your favorite podcast player, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and YouTube. You can also subscribe to email alerts about new episodes at fbi.gov/podcasts.
I’m Ellen Ferrante from the FBI’s Office of Public Affairs. Thanks for tuning in.
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