Four individuals suspected of having a role in the 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse were charged in the United States on Thursday. According to the Department of Justice, three of those charged are Haitian-American citizens, the fourth is a Colombian national.
Haitian-American citizens James Solages, Joseph Vincent, and Colombian citizen German Alejandro Rivera Garcia were charged by the department with “conspiring to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States and providing material support and resources resulting in death.” Christian Sanon, also a Haitian-American citizen, was charged with “conspiring to smuggle goods from the United States.” Three other individuals were previously charged by the DOJ in connection to the assassination.
The DOJ alleges that in April of 2021, Solages, Sanon and others met in Florida “to discuss regime change in Haiti and support for Sanon, an aspiring Haitian political candidate.” At the meeting those present reportedly exchanged a list of equipment and weapons, including “rifles, machine guns, tear gas, grenades, ammunition, bulletproof vests, and other weapons and equipment,” that would be needed to carry out the regime change operation.
Sanon reportedly conspired to ship some of those materials out of the United States, evading American export laws in the process. Haitian authorities arrested Solages, Vincent, Rivera and Sanon, who were then transferred to U.S. custody.
President Moïse was killed on July 7th, 2021, when gunmen carrying automatic weapons and grenades entered his home in Port Au Prince, Haiti, and shot both the president and first lady. The former President was reportedly tortured by the assailants before being killed. Former First Lady Martine Moïse received treatment for her injuries in the United States and survived.
More than 40 suspects have been detained in connection with the assassination plot, 19 of those were identified as former Colombian soldiers.
Following the murder, both the Haitian government and the former first lady called upon the FBI and the American government to assist in the investigation of the assassination, and the preservation of security within the county. Following a request from the Haitian government for 500 soldiers, the U.S agreed to send federal law enforcement and monetary support to the nation.
The charges brought in the United States speak to the international nature of the plot, which launched a wave of political turmoil within the country that rages on 18 months after Moïse’s death.