FBI Arrests Suspect In Haiti Presidential Assassination
MIAMI - The FBI has reportedly arrested the main suspect in the assassination of the Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. Mario Antonio Palacios, who allegedly worked with a group of other Colombian citizens in the plotted kidnapping turned assassination of Jovenel Moise has been detained.
Palacios, who is a 43 year old Colombian national was arrested in Panama and taken into custody by U.S. authorities and brought back to Miami, Florida on federal charges. After the assassination he had fled to Jamaica and evaded arrest for months.
According to the federal criminal complaint, which was unsealed on Tuesday, Palacios as well as others had breached the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on July 7th, 2021 with the intention to kill President Jovenel Moise.
Moise was shot 12 times and died from his wounds according to both an autopsy as well as local Haitian authorities. The Haitian First Lady also received multiple gunshots but survived the attack and was treated in a hospital in Miami, Florida.
The group that plotted to kill the Haitian president had 28 other members who are also Colombian citizens with 'military training' who were recruited for a plan hatched up by Haiti-based dual Haitian American citizens to 'extract' the president.
Palacios was interviewed by U.S. law enforcement in October of 2021 where he allegedly stated that the plan was to 'capture' Moise at the airport while wearing black hoodies and transport him away using a plane. The plan however had changed July 6th, the day before the storming of the palace where orders were given instead to assassinate the president rather than merely abduct him as was originally planned.
Palacios is now being charged with conspiracy to commit murder, or kidnapping outside of the United States and providing material support which resulted in death, knowing or intending that such material support would be used to prepare for, or carrying out the conspiracy to kill or kidnap according to the criminal complaint.
According to prosecutors, the maximum sentence for Palacios is life imprisonment if he is convicted of the charges being presented. The FBI is currently investigating the case in conjunction with law enforcement which includes investigations by Homeland Security.