In a stunning development, one American arrested in connection with the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has been identified as a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency asset who handed authorities the warlord who carried out the last coup in the troubled Caribbean country, reports said Monday.
What’s more, DEA officials have come out and said that while one of their agents was linked to the murder of Moïse, the agency itself was not involved in the plot. In addition, DEA officials claim that the agent called in after the assassination and that he was advised to turn himself in to authorities, the Miami Herald reported.
The paper reported further that the operative has been identified as Joseph Vincent, 55.
It was Vincent, the paper added, who helped the DEA arrest Guy Philippe in 2017, the man who led a coup in 2004 against then-Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide. Phillippe was detained on drug trafficking charges, according to sources.
Also, Vincent worked with Haitian police when Phillippe was delivered to the DEA at an airport in the Caribbean nation; the former drug trafficker and coup planner is now serving a nine-year sentence in federal prison.
Vincent was among three Americans who were arrested last week in connection with the early Wednesday morning assassination at Moïse’s home. The other two are 35-year-old maintenance worker James Solages, and a 63-year-old pastor and physician, Christian Emmanuel Sanon, whom authorities say masterminded the murder. In addition, 18 Colombian nationals were also arrested; most are believed to be mercenaries hired through a security firm in Florida, CNN reported.
The outlet added that several of the suspects are informants for the FBI.
“At times, one of the suspects in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise was a confidential source to the DEA,” the agency said in a statement, according to CNN.
“Following the assassination of President Moise, 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 official, provided information to the Haitian government that assisted in the surrender and arrest of the suspect and one other individual,” the DEA said. “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.
Witnesses said some of the assailants yelled “DEA!” during the attack on Moïse, whose wife was wounded in the gunfire.
Sanon came to Haiti on a private jet in June, Police Chief Leon Charles told a news conference in recent days. After he arrived, Haitian authorities say he hired the Florida-based company CTU Security, allegedly to provide security for him. But that appears to have potentially been a cover to hire mercenaries for the hit on Moïse.
“He came to Haiti accompanied by a few people in the beginning of June, these people were supposed to ensure his security and his business,” said Charles. “He came with the intention to take over as President of the Republic.”
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