In an announcement put forth this past Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) stated that a Colombian national has officially been charged in connection with a plot set up to kill Jovenel Moïse, the president of Haiti.
As stated in a press release, the DOJ said, a “Colombian national was arrested based on a criminal complaint filed in the Southern District of Florida.”
“Mario Antonio Palacios, 43, is charged with conspiracy to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States and providing material support resulting in death, knowing or intending that such material support would be used to prepare for or carry out the conspiracy to kill or kidnap,” read the release.
The document continued:
As alleged, the defendant and others, including a group of approximately 20 other Colombian citizens and a group of Haiti-based dual Haitian-American citizens, participated in a plot to kidnap or kill the Haitian President, with one conspirator (“Co-conspirator #1”) traveling to the United States on June 28, 2021, to, among other things, provide other individuals with a written request for assistance to further the plot relating to the Haitian President.
It was explained by the DOJ that “while the plot initially focused on conducting a kidnapping of the president as part of a purported arrest operation, it ultimately resulted in a plot to kill the Haitian President. The complaint affidavit alleges that, on July 7, 2021, Palacios and others entered the president’s residence in Haiti with the intent and purpose of killing President Moise, and in fact the president was killed.”
The defendant in the case “was recently deported from Jamaica and, during a layover in Panama, agreed to travel to the United States. He is currently in custody and will appear in court for his initial appearance later today.”
The man charged may end up spending life in prison if officially convicted of all of the charges.
As reported by the New York Times, Palacios went in front of a federal judge this past Tuesday where he was charged.
“Alfredo Izaguirre, a lawyer who was appointed to represent Mr. Palacios, said he would most likely plead not guilty at a pretrial hearing scheduled for later this month,” stated the outlet.
The news source went on to add:
Mr. Moïse was gunned down on July 7 in his bedroom by assassins who spoke Spanish, according to his wife, Martine Moïse, who was injured in the attack. However, the exact identity of the killers, the details of Mr. Moïse’s death and the ultimate mastermind of the plot remain unknown.
A group of officials from the United States went to Haiti in the wake of the attack in an effort to meet with Haitian officials.
The Hill reported that authorities from the DOJ, Homeland Security, and State as well as the White House National Security Council (NSC) made the trip down to Haiti in order to review the security status of the small country and assist with the investigation into the incident.