Alleged War Criminal Arrested
An indictment was unsealed yesterday charging Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu, a/k/a “Jucontee Thomas Smith,” 68, of Collingdale, Pennsylvania, with lying on his application for U.S. citizenship by not disclosing his alleged affiliation with a violent political group in Liberia, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Woewiyu is charged with seven counts of perjury, two counts of fraudulently attempting to obtain citizenship, four counts of fraud in immigration documents, and three counts of false statements in relation to naturalization.
According to the indictment, Woewiyu was residing in the U.S. when he formed the Association for Constitutional Democracy in Liberia (ACDL) to advocate against the regime of Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe in Liberia. Woewiyu, and others, also formed the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) a military organization committed to the violent overthrow of the Doe government. The ACDL provided funding to the NPFL. In 1990, a splinter group captured and executed Doe. The NPFL, however, persisted with a brutal campaign for control of the country. An attack in October of 1992 by NPFL forces left scores of residents of Monrovia dead. According to the indictment, Woewiyu presided as NPFL minister of defense during a brutal military campaign during which perceived adversaries were tortured, civilians were executed, girls and women were raped and forced into sex slavery, and humanitarian aid workers were murdered.
In his application for U.S. citizenship, Woewiyu responded that he had not ever advocated for the overthrow of any government by force or violence and that he had never persecuted any person because of race, religion, national origin, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 110 years’ imprisonment, a $4 million fine, not more than three years’ supervised release, and a $1,600 special assessment.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Linwood C. Wright, Jr.
An indictment or information is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.