I know someone who was once the leader of the Grand Ravine gang in the south of Port-au-Prince.
Around the time he became the gang’s leader, a United Nations mission in Haiti was moving to confront and dismantle gangs. In 2006, Haitian officials, with support from a U.N. disarmament program, brokered a truce among gangs, and he handed over his best weapons, though not all. His rivals kept all their guns.
So he made a phone call to a government official, a person he knew would help them rearm.
He told me that. a few nights later, a white SUV pulled up to their meeting place. It was an official car, with government plates, to head off any checks by the police. He had brought four or five armed men with him to protect the delivery. In the duffel bag he collected that night — such handoffs occurred in increments — he found a Beretta 9 mm handgun, a 12-gauge shotgun, and an M-14 assault rifle. In return, the government official gained the gang leader’s capacity for organizing the community to vote in his favor.