Man pleads guilty to assassination of Haitian president in US probe | crime news
Rodolphe Jaar is accused of conspiring to assassinate or kidnap President Jovenal Moise and assisting in the conspiracy.
A Haitian and Chilean national has pleaded guilty to three counts related to conspiracy to assassinate former Haitian President Jovenel Moise, marking the first guilty plea in a 2021 United States investigation into the assassination.
Rodolphe Jaar, 50, appeared in court on Friday to face criminal charges in the shooting death of Moise, including conspiracy to murder or kidnap and conspiracy to provide material support to carry out the assassination. Moise was killed at his home in July 2021.
Jaar is the first of 11 defendants in the US case to plead guilty. While each of the charges carries a potential life sentence, according to the Miami Herald, Jaar could potentially serve less than 30 years in prison under a plea agreement for colluding with federal authorities.
His sentencing is scheduled for June 3.
When Jaar was arrested in January 2022, US Department of Justice prosecutors alleged that he was collaborating in “a conspiracy to kidnap or assassinate the Haitian President” along with a group that included “approximately 20 Colombian nationals and a number of dual Haitian nationals.” belonged.
This plot originally aimed to apprehend Moise at the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, but evolved into a plan to kidnap or assassinate the President.
Prosecutors said Jaar was “responsible for providing arms to the Colombian co-conspirators to facilitate the conduct of the operation.”
The “Colombian co-conspirators also remained at a residence controlled by Jaar,” and he provided assistance to those involved as they hid from Haitian authorities after the murder, prosecutors said.
The Miami Herald reported that Jaar worked with US investigators on a major investigation into cocaine smuggling 10 years ago.
Moise’s assassination plunged Haiti into further political unrest, emboldening local gangs who have since expanded their control over much of the island. Escalating violence has exacerbated a humanitarian crisis caused by natural disasters and high levels of poverty.
The US has continued to make arrests in connection with the Moise assassination plot as part of its ongoing investigation.
The latest round came in February, when authorities arrested three people in Florida and charged them with “conspiracy to kidnap or kill outside of the United States, resulting in death.” They have been identified as Antonio “Tony” Intriago, Arcangel Pretel Ortiz, and Walter Veintemilla.
A fourth suspect, Frederick Bergman, was arrested and charged with conspiring to smuggle ballistic vests for the former Colombian soldiers who allegedly carried out the fatal shooting.
A key figure among those arrested is a 64-year-old doctor named Christian Emmanuel Sanon. Prosecutors describe him as “a dual Haitian citizen who harbored political ambitions in Haiti.”
They claim the conspirators initially planned to replace Moise with Sanon but eventually changed their mind and shifted their support to a former Haitian Supreme Court justice. The conspirators “apparently realized that Sanon had neither the constitutional qualifications nor the public support of the Haitian people to become president,” federal prosecutors said.
Sanon was charged with attempting to smuggle ballistic vests into Haiti from the US and faces a 20-year prison sentence.