4 suspects arrested

US police arrested four suspected of playing a role in the 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in Florida on Tuesday, a federal prosecutor said during a press conference in Miami.

Three of those arrested are charged with conspiring to kill and kidnap a person outside the United States, a crime for which they face life in prison. They are the Venezuelan Antonio Intriago, the Colombian Arcángel Pretel Ortiz and the American Walter Veintemilla.

Intriago and Ortiz ran two Miami security firms, known as CTU, allegedly involved in the plan to oust Moïse and replace him with Christian Sanon, a Haitian-American citizen.

Veintemilla joined the plot as a financier through his company Worldwide Capital Lending Group, based in South Florida.

The fourth detainee, American Frederick Joseph Bergmann Jr., is accused of helping to finance the coup and helping to send CTU bulletproof vests to Haiti without complying with US export regulations.

Moïse, 53, was shot dead by an armed commando in July 2021 at his private residence in Port-au-Prince, without the intervention of his bodyguards. “It seems that money and power, but above all money, were the opportunities that fueled the plot,” said prosecutor Markenzy Lapointe during the press conference.

According to him, Intriago, Ortiz and Veintemilla concocted the assassination plan in exchange for contracts to build infrastructure in Haiti, provide security forces and military equipment to a government led by Sanon.

When it became clear that Sanon did not have the necessary support and did not meet the constitutional requirements to be president, the plot’s organizers supported a former Haitian Supreme Court judge to replace Moïse, according to the indictment.

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Later, after failing to kidnap the president, the conspirators supposedly decided to assassinate him with a command of 20 Colombians hired by CTU.

With Tuesday’s arrests, the United States has already detained 11 people for participating in the murder of Moïse from South Florida.

Two weeks ago Sanon and three other men were extradited to the United States for their role in the assassination.

The US justice accuses the first of “illegal export of goods from the United States.”

The other three men extradited, Haitian-Americans James Solages and Joseph Vincent, and Colombian Germán Rivera, are accused of conspiring to kill and kidnap Moïse.

Praise

Claude Joseph, who was prime minister during Moïse’s presidency, praised the announcement. “Justice must triumph,” Joseph tweeted, along with a photo of the US government press release.

A few days ago, the widow of the Haitian president, Martine Moïse, who was wounded in the attack but survived, called for the creation of a special UN court to investigate the assassination, stating that the case had suffered political and legal blocks for 19 months.

“The murderers are still on the loose,” said Martine Moïse.

A squad of Colombian soldiers is among those suspected of having carried out the murder in July 2021, although the motive and the true perpetrators of the crime remain unknown. A security company in Miami that hired the soldiers for the mission had turned to Walter Veintemilla for his funding, according to authorities.

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