DOJ Charges Colombian National In Plot To Assassinate Haitian President

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Tuesday that a Colombian national has been charged in connection with the plot to assassinate Haitian president Jovenel Moïse earlier this year.

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,” the release noted.

The press release 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.

The DOJ explained 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 “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 suspect could spend life in prison if convicted of the charges.

The New York Times reported that Palacios went before a federal judge 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,” The Times noted.

The Times added: 

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.

The Daily Wire reported on the assassination in July, noting, “Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his private residence overnight, according to Haitian government officials.” The U.S. government temporarily shut down the U.S. Embassy in Haiti after the assassination.

The Daily Wire added:

Moise, 53, was at the presidential palace at around 1:00 am on Wednesday when a “highly trained and heavily armed group” conducted a “coordinated attack,” according to a statement from interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph.

United States officials traveled to Haiti following the attack in order to meet with Haitian officials.

As reported by The Hill, authorities from the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and State as well as the White House National Security Council (NSC) went to Haiti to look into the security status of the country and help with the investigation. 

As The Daily Wire previously reported, the interim prime minister of Haiti asked the United States to send members of its military to Haiti in order to help with unrest. 

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