UNITED STATES NEWS

Former DEA informant pleads guilty in 2021 assassination of Haiti’s president

Dec 5, 2023, 11:19 AM

MIAMI (AP) — A former confidential informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to assassinate Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, whose killing in 2021 caused unprecedented turmoil in the Caribbean nation.

Joseph Vincent, a dual Haitian-American citizen who lived in the U.S. and attended meetings in South Florida and Haiti ahead of the assassination, is the fourth of 11 defendants in Miami to plead guilty. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison on charges including conspiracy to kill and kidnap a person outside the U.S. and conspiracy to provide material support and resources.

According to authorities, about 20 Colombian citizens and several dual Haitian-American citizens participated in the plot. The conspirators initially planned to kidnap the Haitian president but later opted to kill him. Investigators allege the plotters had hoped to win contracts under Moïse’s successor.

Vincent, wearing a prisoner’s beige shirt and pants, pleaded guilty at a hearing before federal Judge José E. Martínez that lasted 20 minutes. Seated next to his attorney, Kenneth Swartz, he was handcuffed and had shackles on his ankles.

“Guilty, your honor,” Vincent responded after the judge asked him how he would plead.

Vincent said he had reached a plea agreement with the prosecutors, something defendants often do in hopes of receiving a lighter sentence. Under the terms, he agreed to collaborate with the investigation, and the government said it would withdraw two accusations of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States.

The judge set his sentencing hearing for Feb. 9, 2024.

The other defendants who have pleaded guilty are retired Colombian army officer Germán Alejandro Rivera Garcia, who was sentenced to life in prison in October; Haitian-Chilean businessman Rodolphe Jaar, who also was sentenced to life in prison in June; and former Haitian senator John Joël Joseph, who was detained in Jamaica before being extradited to Miami last year and is set to be sentenced on Dec. 19.

They are all part of what U.S. prosecutors have described as a conspiracy hatched in Haiti and Florida that ended with mercenaries gunning down Moïse at his private home near the Haitian capital of Port-Au-Prince on July 7, 2021. He was 53.

Vincent was close to Haitian-American suspects James Solages and Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a South Florida resident and pastor whose ambition to replace Moïse as president led to the assassination, according to charges filed by the prosecutors. Both were among the first arrested after Moïse was shot 12 times at his home.

After the killing, Vincent maintained his innocence and told a Haitian judge that he was a translator for the Colombian soldiers accused of storming the president’s residence and killing him.

More than 40 suspects have been arrested in the case in Haiti, most of them shortly after Moïse was fatally shot in the attack that also injured his wife, Martine Moïse. Among those detained are 18 former Colombian soldiers accused of taking part in the plot and several high-ranking Haitian police officers.

In Haiti, five judges have been appointed to the case and four of them have stepped down for various reasons, including fear of being killed.

In the two years following the assassination, Haiti has experienced a surge in gang violence that led the prime minister to request the immediate deployment of a foreign armed force in October 2022. The U.N. Security Council voted to send a multinational force led by Kenya to help fight gangs in October of this year.

The deployment has been delayed, however. Kenya has said its personnel needs more training and funding, and a local high court has extended orders blocking the deployment, with a hearing scheduled for late January. No deployment date has been announced.

United States News

Associated Press

Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows

WASHINGTON (AP) — ABC’s “This Week” — Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. ___ NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Mitch Landrieu, national co-chair of President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign; Gov. Kristi Noem, R-S.D. ___ CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M.; former national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien; former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell. […]

25 minutes ago

Associated Press

New York county reaches $1.75 million settlement with family of man fatally shot by police in 2011

SELDEN, N.Y. (AP) — A New York county has reached a $1.75 million settlement with the family of a man shot and killed by police in his home in 2011. Suffolk County, on Long Island, has agreed to pay the settlement to the family of Kevin Callahan, County Legislator Rob Trotta, who chairs the Ways […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

North Carolina lawmakers appeal judge’s decision blocking abortion-pill restrictions

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Republican legislative leaders are appealing portions of a federal judge’s order this month that blocked several state laws that restrict how abortion pills can be dispensed, including the requirement that only physicians can provide the drugs to patients. Lawyers for Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Texas medical panel issues new guidelines for doctors but no specific exceptions for abortion ban

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas medical panel on Friday approved guidance for doctors working under one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion bans but refused to list specific exceptions to the law, which doctors have complained is dangerously unclear. The decision by the Texas Medical Board came less than a month after the state […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Inmate asks court to block second nitrogen execution in Alabama

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Lawyers for an Alabama inmate on Friday asked a judge to block the nation’s second scheduled execution using nitrogen gas, arguing the first was a “horrific scene” that violates the ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Alan Eugene Miller, who survived a 2022 lethal injection attempt, is scheduled to be executed […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Shooting at grocery store in south Arkansas kills 2 and wounds 8 others, police say

FORDYCE, Ark. (AP) — Two people were killed and eight wounded in a shooting that occurred Friday at a grocery store in south Arkansas, police said. Arkansas State Police said the shooting occurred at the Mad Butcher grocery store in Fordyce and that the suspected shooter was critically injured after being shot by police. A […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Former DEA informant pleads guilty in 2021 assassination of Haiti’s president