MIAMI — Four suspects, including the South Florida doctor initially arrested in Haiti, connected to the assassination of former President Jovenel Moise were transferred from Haiti to Miami and charged with federal conspiracy Tuesday, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The group of three Haitian American and one Colombian suspects is accused of conspiring to kidnap and murder Moise on July 7, 2021 and knowingly providing material support and resources that resulted in his death.
The three Haitian suspects — Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a doctor and businessman, James Solages, an entrepreneur, Joseph Vincent, a former DEA agent — all lived in South Florida. Colombian German Alejandro Rivera Garcia was also arrested with the group.
“It is alleged that on July 6, 2021, Solages, Vincent, Rivera and others met at a house near President Moïse’s residence, where firearms and equipment were distributed and Solages announced that the mission was to kill President Moïse,” the Justice Department press release said. “On July 7, 2021, several individuals arrived outside President Moïse’s residence, some of whom were wearing ballistic vests. They entered the President’s home and killed him, according to the allegations.”
Sanon has a separate criminal charge of conspiring to smuggle goods, including 20 ballistic vests, from the U.S. and providing unlawful export information.
Solages, Vincent and Rivera could serve life in prison if convicted of their alleged roles in the kidnapping attempt and assassination plot. Sanon faces up to 20 years in prison on related smuggling charges. The group of four suspects are scheduled to make their initial federal court appearances tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. before the U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia Otazo-Reyes in Miami.
With the Jan. 31 arrests, the U.S. now has charged and has in custody seven people so far with U.S. crimes for their alleged roles in the assassination plot. Mario Antonio Palacios, 43, Rodolphe Jaar, 49, and Joseph Joel John, 51, were arrested last year.
Murder plot recap
Sanon is believed to be the mastermind of the crime, law enforcement in Haiti have said, motivated by a desire to become Haiti’s president. He is a serial entrepreneur who started multiple businesses in Haiti, in industries from medical care to residential development, according to people familiar with him. However, most of his ventures failed, colleagues have said.
In June 2021 Sanon arrived in Haiti on board a private plane with “political motivations,” Leon Charles, Haiti’s police chief at the time of the murder, said. He recruited the suspects, including Solages, Vincent and the Colombian mercenaries, to provide him security as the new president of Haiti.
In mid-June 2021, support for Moise’s replacement shifted from Sanon to a former Haitian Supreme Court Judge, according to the Justice Department release. That Judge signed a document requesting assistance to further the arrest and imprisonment of Moise. In addition, a document signed by that Judge claimed to provide immunity in Haiti to those who participated in the operation.
According to interviews with a Colombian suspect, the group was initially recruited to provide Sanon security as a VIP, but the mission changed and they were told to serve an arrest warrant on Moïse.
A Miramar, Florida-based capital lender — Worldwide Capital Lending Group — is accused of financing the plot to assassinate Moïse by providing funding to Sanon and the security firm — the Doral, Florida-based CTU — to carry out the fatal attack. In a statement provided to The Haitian Times, the company denied any knowledge that these suspects were allegedly plotting to kill the president.
Solages, for his part, had dreamed of becoming mayor of his hometown, Jacmel, his uncle told The Haitian Times in an exclusive interview at the time.
He lived around Broward County and held odd jobs before being drawn into the assassination plot.