US police have arrested four more people for alleged roles in the plot to assassinate Haitian President Jovenel Moise in 2021.
One of the suspects is the owner of a Florida-based security company, which authorities say hired Colombian ex-soldiers for the mission.
President Moise was shot and killed at his home in Port-au-Prince, reportedly by Spanish-speaking foreign mercenaries.
Eleven suspects are now in US custody.
According to the Justice Department (DOJ), Venezuelan-American Antonio “Tony” Intriago, who is the owner of Florida-based CTU Security, hired a squad of former Colombian soldiers for the operation. He has now been hit with a slew of charges, including conspiracy to kill or kidnap a person outside of the US.
A CTU company representative, Colombian citizen Arcangel Pretel Ortiz, has also been arrested.
A third suspect, Florida-based financier Walter Veintemilla, is accused of financing the plot to kill Mr Moise. His attorney told the Associated Press that he plans to plead not guilty.
The fourth suspect – Frederick Joseph Bergmann Jr – has been accused of smuggling ballistic vests as part of the plot.
“It is extremely important to bring (them) to justice,” said US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Markenzy Lapointe. “We will deliver justice in the courtroom.”
US authorities had previously announced the arrest of seven men for their alleged role in the plot, including Haitian-American dual citizens James Solages and Joseph Vincent, and pastor and businessman Christian Emmanual Sanon.
Haitian police have said that Mr Sanon had “political objectives” to replace President Moise.
The DOJ believes that Mr Solages and Mr Vincent, along with Colombian national Germán Alejandro Rivera, originally planned to detain the Haitian president and fly him away from Haiti so that a new president could be installed. The plan was reportedly abandoned because they did not have an aircraft.
In a statement in January, US prosecutors said that the three men and others met at a house in Haiti just before the assassination, “where firearms and equipment was distributed and Solages announced that the mission was to kill President Moise”.
Haiti’s own investigation into the assassination has largely stalled, with three judges having resigned from their posts due to security concerns. A fourth was dismissed.
More than 40 suspects have been arrested in Haiti and remain in custody, including 18 Colombians. Three others were killed immediately after President Moise’s death.
Source : BBC