With an Indictment, Does Justice Loom for Liberia’s Dragon Master?

May 5, 2022Carl Prine

Young rebel fighters from the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) patrol on Sept. 15, 2002, in Voinjama, Liberia. Once a shadowy rebel force active mainly in northern Liberia, LURD steadily worked toward one goal, the ouster of president Charles Taylor. Photo by Issouf Sanogo/AFP via Getty Images.

Justice might soon arrive for the man Liberians call “Dragon Master.”

A federal grand jury indictment unveiled in Philadelphia on Thursday charges Laye Sekou Camara with immigration document fraud, part of what investigators say has been an 11-year attempt to hide his past as a revolutionary general during one of Liberia’s brutal civil wars.

Also known as “K-1,” Camara, 43, faces up to 10 years behind bars, a $250,000 fine, and deportation back to the West African nation that was embroiled in bloodshed between 1999 and 2003.

The Second Liberian Civil War pitted Camara’s LURD — Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy — at times against both guerrillas in the Movement for Democracy in Liberia and government forces loyal to corrupt strongman Charles Taylor.

Tens of thousands of Liberians died in a conflict that became infamous for LURD press-ganging child soldiers, hopping them up on drugs, and unleashing them on the rebel force’s enemies. A member of the Mandingo tribe, Camara wanted to erase that legacy when he applied to enter the US in 2011, authorities say.

Dragon Master
Rebels from Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) celebrate on Aug. 5, 2003, near the Irongate suburb of Liberia’s capital, Monrovia. Photo by Georges Gobet/AFP via Getty Images.

“We will not allow the United States to be a safe haven for those attempting to hide from their past,” said William S. Walker, special agent in charge of the Homeland Security Investigations Philadelphia Field Office, in a prepared statement released in the wake of the indictment.

Camara’s defense attorney did not respond to messages seeking comment from Coffee or Die Magazine.

According to his indictment, Camara falsified his 2011 temporary non-immigrant visa application to the US by lying about his tribal affiliation, his military service in LURD, and whether he “committed, ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in extrajudicial killings, political killings, or other acts of violence.”

Once admitted to the US, he applied for a green card, which allows immigrants to reside permanently in this country. There’s a long process to obtaining a green card, and prosecutors say Camara lied throughout it.

One of the questions posed to him was whether he “ever engaged in the recruitment of or the use of child soldiers.”

Dragon Master
A rebel from Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), wearing a Mickey Mouse hat and brandishing a saber, clears the way for a truck on Aug. 5, 2003, in the suburb of Bushrod, near Monrovia, Liberia. Photo by Georges Gobet/AFP via Getty Images.

His green card was approved in late 2012. Prosecutors say Camara then used his green card to obtain a Pennsylvania state identification card.

Agents arrested him on March 28 in New Jersey, and he was released on a $2,500 bond.

In a prepared statement released Thursday, US Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said Camara “attempted to evade accountability for his horrific involvement in Liberia’s brutal civil wars by fraudulently obtaining US immigration documents. Due to the hard work and perseverance of our prosecutors and law enforcement partners, he can no longer run and hide from justice.”

Read Next: FBI: Russian Oligarch’s $300 Million Luxury Yacht Seized in Fiji 

Carl Prine
Carl Prine

Carl Prine is a former senior editor at Coffee or Die Magazine. He has worked at Navy Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
Coffee Or Die Photo
From the Team Room to Team Room Design: An Operator’s Creative Journey

BRCC partners with Team Room Design for an exclusive T-shirt release!

Coffee Or Die Photo
Get Your Viking On: The Exclusive 30 Sec Out BRCC Shirt Club Design

Thirty Seconds Out has partnered with BRCC for an exclusive shirt design invoking the God of Winter.

Grizzly Forge BRCC shirt
Limited Edition: Grizzly Forge Blades on an Awesome BRCC Shirt

Lucas O'Hara of Grizzly Forge has teamed up with BRCC for a badass, exclusive Shirt Club T-shirt design featuring his most popular knife and tiomahawk.

BRCC Limited Edition Josh Raulerson Blackbeard Skull Shirt
From Naval Service to Creative Canvas: BRCC Veteran Artist Josh Raulerson

Coffee or Die sits down with one of the graphic designers behind Black Rifle Coffee's signature look and vibe.

Medal of Honor is held up.
Biden Will Award Medal of Honor to Army Helicopter Pilot Who Rescued Soldiers in Vietnam Firefight

Biden will award the Medal of Honor to a Vietnam War Army helicopter pilot who risked his life to save a reconnaissance team from almost certain death.

dear jack mandaville
Dear Jack: Which Historic Battle Would You Want To Witness?

Ever wonder how much Jack Mandaville would f*ck sh*t up if he went back in time? The American Revolution didn't even see him coming.

west point time capsule
West Point Time Capsule Yields Centuries-Old Coins

A nearly 200-year-old West Point time capsule that at first appeared to yield little more than dust contains hidden treasure, the US Military Academy said.

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
Contact Us
© 2024 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved