Three US citizens were arrested over the assassination plot: Vincent, Sanon and James Solages, all have been charged over the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise
Several suspects in Haiti presidential assassination were FBI and DEA informants – Friend of hit squad claims plot was backed by Washington to ‘save country from hell’
One of the Haitian- American-men in custody Joseph Vincent, 55, was identified as a former occasional source for the DEA
DEA refused to name the person, but admitted one of the arrested was a source
Others previously worked as informants for the FBI, it has emerged
Associate of alleged mastermind claimed the plot was supported by Washington
Joseph Vincent, 55, was on the tarmac in Haiti when Haitian police officers handed over US fugitive Guy Philippe to DEA agents, who flew him back to Miami on drug trafficking charges in January 2017, said sources
Philippe led a 2004 coup against then-Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide that led to his overthrowing
The Haiti government is planning a state funeral for President Jovenel Moïse as circumstances around his assassination continue to unfold. Several suspects arrested on suspicion of taking part in the assassination of Haiti’s president last week were previously US informants, it has emerged.
One suspect, a Haitian-American man, had been an informant to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, a DEA official said on Monday.
It was revealed that Joseph Vincent, 55, one of the two Haitian-born US citizens who were captured with the assassination team, helped the DEA in 2017 to arrest Guy Philippe who led a 2004 coup against then-President Jean Bertrand Aristide, on drugs trafficking charges.
Pastor and physician Christian Emmanuel Sanon, 63, was the third US citizen arrested in Haiti over the assassination. Haiti National Police have announced that they uncovered a DEA hat in his home – along with weapons.
The latest revelations come as a second wave of Colombian ex-soldiers was also headed for Haiti after being recruited for what they were told was a ‘potentially dangerous security operation’, and it was revealed that Christian Emanuel Sanon, who is suspected of being the mastermind of the plot, launched a website last month campaigning to replace Moïse as president.
Sanon claimed to have the backing of a key UN figure and wrote a letter to a State Department official saying he had been picked as interim leader.
To further muddle he situation, Colombia security agencies said that Dimitri Hérard, head of the General Security Unit of the National Palace in Port-Au-Prince, allegedly flew to Colombia, Ecuador and Panama in the months before the assassination.
Hérard is being investigated to uncover if he had any role in recruiting the mercenaries in Colombia with authorities planning to interrogate him and the president’s other key security personnel this week. Meanwhile the US sent State Department, Justice Department, and Homeland officials to Port-au-Prince Sunday
It is not clear when Vincent last worked with the DEA or for how long but the source close to the 55-year-old revealed he was first arrested over two decades ago for submitting fake information on a US passport application and went by the alias ‘Oliver.’
The source confirmed Vincent’s involvement in helping the US bring warlord Philippe to justice.
Philippe who was a close ally of Moïse is currently behind bars in US federal prison after he was sentenced in 2017 to nine years for money laundering in connection to an international narcotics scheme that involved smuggling drugs into Miami and other parts of the US in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
At Philippe’s trial in Miami, Haitian opposition protesters waved photos of the two men campaigning together, along with the words ‘Drug-dealing brothers in crime.’
Philippe had been a fugitive from US authorities for more than a decade after federal authorities in Miami charged him with drug trafficking back in 2005.
The former police commander used his position of power in Haiti to earn up to $3.5 million in bribes from drug traffickers who were distributing cocaine in the US. He was finally arrested on January 5, 2017, while he was appearing live on a Haiti radio show. Vincent was on the tarmac with the Haitian National Police officers when they handed Philippe over to DEA agents who took him on a plane back to Miami to face trial in 2017, the source close to the operation said.
A DEA official, speaking anonymously, confirmed one Haitian-American man arrested in the assassination plot had worked as a US informant.
The suspect was not an active informant with the DEA at the time of the assassination, they said. ‘At times, one of the suspects in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was a confidential source to the DEA.’
The suspect had reached out to the DEA after the assassination. The agency and the US State Department urged him to surrender and helped to arrange him being handed over to Haitian authorities, they said.
‘Following the assassination of President Moïse, the suspect reached out to his contacts at the DEA.
‘A DEA official assigned to Haiti urged the suspect to surrender to local authorities and, along with a US State Department colleague, shared information with the Haitian government that assisted in the surrender and arrest of the suspect and one other individual.’
The official said the DEA was aware of reports that members of the hit squad had shouted that they were DEA agents during the raid and insisted ‘these individuals were not acting on behalf of DEA.’
Haitians in parts of the capital Port-au-Prince planned protests this week against the interim prime minister and acting head of state Claude Joseph.
Joseph’s right to lead the country has been challenged by other senior politicians, threatening to exacerbate the turmoil engulfing the poorest country in the Americas.
Many demonstrated in support of former opposition Senators Youri Latortue and Steven Benoit as they made statements before prosecutor Bed-Ford Claude at the Palace of Justice on Monday.
Supporters of former Haitian opposition Senators Youri Latortue and Steven Benoit gathered around the Palace of Justice on Monday, as they made statements before prosecutor Bed-Ford Claude.
Sanon was arrested on Sunday by Haitian authorities, who accused him of being a mastermind of the attack.
Sanon – a physician, a church pastor, and a failed Florida businessman who filed for bankruptcy – is unknown in Haitian political circles, and associates suggested he was duped by those really behind the assassination of President Moïse.
A Florida friend of Sanon told AP the suspect is an evangelical Christian pastor and also is a licensed physician in Haiti, but not in the U.S.
The associate, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of safety concerns, said Sanon told him he was approached by people claiming to represent the U.S. State and Justice departments who wanted to install him as president.
He said the plan was only for Moïse to be arrested, and Sanon would not have participated if he knew Moïse would be killed.
‘I guarantee you that,’ the associate said. ‘This was supposed to be a mission to save Haiti from hell, with support from the U.S. government.’
Haiti’s National Police chief, Léon Charles, said Moïse’s killers were protecting Sanon.
Charles said officers found a hat with the logo of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, 20 boxes of bullets, gun parts, four license plates from the Dominican Republic, two cars and correspondence, among other things, in Sanon’s house in Haiti.
Meanwhile, Colombia’s national police chief, Gen. Jorge Luis Vargas, said that a Florida-based enterprise, CTU Security, used its company credit card to buy 19 plane tickets from Bogota to Santo Domingo for Colombian suspects.
Most arrived in the Dominican Republic in June and moved into Haiti within weeks, Vargas said.
He said Dimitri Hérard, head of general security at Haiti’s National Palace, flew to Colombia, Ecuador and Panama in the months before the assassination, and Colombian police are investigating whether he had any role in recruiting the mercenaries.
In Haiti, prosecutors are seeking to interrogate Hérard as part of the assassination investigation.
Haiti National Police Chief Charles said that Sanon was in contact with CTU Security and that the company recruited the suspects in the killing.
Sanon flew into Haiti in June on a private jet accompanied by several of the alleged gunmen, Charles said.
The suspects were told their job was to protect Sanon, but they were later ordered to arrest the president, Charles said.
Charles said that after Moïse was killed, one suspect called Sanon, who got in touch with two people believed to be masterminds of the plot. He did not identify the masterminds or say if police know who they are.
Sanon’s associate said he attended a recent meeting in Florida with Sanon and about a dozen other people, including Antonio Enmanuel Intriago Valera, a Venezuelan émigré to Miami who runs CTU Security. He said a presentation was made for rebuilding Haiti, including its water system, converting trash into energy and fixing roads.
He said Sanon asked why the security team accompanying him to Haiti were all Colombians. Sanon was told that Haitians couldn’t be trusted and that the system is corrupt, the associate said. He said Sanon called him from Haiti a few days before the assassination and said the Colombians had disappeared.
‘I’m all by myself. Who are these people? I don’t know what they are doing,’ the associate quoted Sanon as saying.
Sanon ‘is completely gullible,’ the associate added. ‘He thinks God is going to save everything.’
Sanon has lived in Florida, in Broward County and in Hillsborough County on the Gulf Coast. Records show he has also lived in Kansas City, Missouri.
He filed for bankruptcy in 2013 and identifies himself as a doctor in a video on YouTube titled ‘Leadership for Haiti.’
In the video, he denounces the leaders of Haiti as corrupt, accusing them of stripping the country of its resources, saying that ‘they don’t care about the country, they don’t care about the people.
He said: ‘This is a country with resources. Nine million people can’t be in poverty when we have so much resources in the country. It’s impossible. … The world has to stop doing what they are doing right now. We can’t take it anymore. We need new leadership that will change the way of life.’
Suspects in the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise, among them Haitian-American citizens James Solages, left, and Joseph Vincent, second left, were shown to the media at the General Direction of the police in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, July 8, 2021.
The U.S. Justice Department said on Monday that it had been asked by Haiti to assist in the probe of Moise’s murder, and was doing so. U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies are probing why the Haitian-American men may have taken part in the assassination.
‘An initial assessment has been conducted in Haiti by senior U.S. officials,’ said spokesman Anthony Coley.
‘The [Justice] department will also investigate whether there were any violations of U.S. criminal law in connection with this matter,’ a statement read.
Solages and Vincent told investigators they were translators for a Colombian commando unit that had an arrest warrant for Moise, but that when they arrived, they found Moise dead.
Solages described himself online as a ‘certified diplomatic agent’ and the former ‘chief commander of bodyguards’ for the Canadian Embassy in Haiti.
Those statements were made on the website of a charity he ran, which on Thursday removed them.
The Miami Herald quoted an unnamed government official as saying that a decade ago, Solages briefly worked for a company that provided security for the Canadian Embassy in Haiti.
‘We are aware of allegations implicating an individual who was briefly employed as a reserve bodyguard by a security company hired by Global Affairs Canada in 2010,’ the newspaper quoted the official as saying.
Florida records show Solages has held security officer and firearm licenses. He had no criminal history.
Schubert Dorisme, Solages’ relative said: ‘He never gets in trouble with anybody. He’s a good guy’.
Dorisme added Solage had recently gained U.S. citizenship but still often travelled to Haiti, where he had hoped to become mayor of Jacmel, a port town on the southern coast.
He described Solage as critical of Moise’s leadership and said he wanted the ‘crazy’ president to resign.
But Dorisme said he did not believe his relative capable of killing. ‘I think somebody used him.’
Solages worked as the plant operations director for the assisted living facility at Carlisle Palm Beach, Lantana, but resigned in April, the Palm Beach Post reported.
He also ran a small economic empowerment charity and a business – EJS Maintenance & Repair LLC -, according to this LinkedIn profile, which has since been changed.