“Socalj” for Borderland Beat
A former DEA informant was sentenced to life in prison and another man pleaded guilty on Friday in a US court case over the 2021 assassination of Haiti’s last president, Jovenel Moise.
The ex-informant, Haitian-American Joseph Vincent had pleaded guilty to helping the plot by providing political advice and meetings with community leaders. According to a court document, he had masqueraded as a US government official.
They had said he could face up to 20 years in prison. Also indicted in the plot were Haitian-Americans James Solages and Christian Emmanuel Sanon and Colombian citizen Germán Rivera García.
According to court documents, two months before Moïse was killed, Joseph Vincent texted Solages a video of a cat “reacting alertly” to the sound of gunfire. Solages laughed, prompting Vincent to respond: “That’s the way Jovenel will be pretty much, but (sooner) if you guys really up to it!” Solages responded that “(this) cat will never come back,” and “trust me, brother, we definitely working on our final decision,” the documents stated.
Authorities said the plan was to detain Moïse and whisk him to an unidentified location by plane, but that plot fell through when the suspects couldn’t find a plane or sufficient weapons.
Moise was shot down in his bedroom during the night-time raid. His death has left a political vacuum during which alliances of violent gangs have expanded their territories and are now estimated to control most of the capital.
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.
About a year after the killing, U.S. authorities say they interviewed Solages, Vincent, and Rivera while they were in Haitian custody and that they agreed to talk.
Earlier on Friday, the United Nations said January was Haiti’s most violent month in over two years, with more than 1,100 people killed, injured or kidnapped.
Haiti’s last elections took place in 2016 and its last senators’ terms expired in January last year.