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President of the Republic of Haiti H.E. Jovenel Moise speaks  during the Concordia Annual Summit at Grand Hyatt New York on Sept. 25, 2018, in New York City.

President of the Republic of Haiti H.E. Jovenel Moise speaks during the Concordia Annual Summit at Grand Hyatt New York on Sept. 25, 2018, in New York City. (Riccardo Savi, Concordia Summit/Getty Images/TNS)

MIAMI (Tribune News Service) — A key suspect in the murder investigation of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was arrested Wednesday by federal agents in Miami after being extradited to the United States.

Rodolphe Jaar, a Haitian businessman who had been convicted of U.S. cocaine-trafficking charges a decade ago, was detained by Dominican authorities earlier this month after crossing into the country following months of hiding in neighboring Haiti.

The arrest of Jaar, known as “Dodof,” in the Dominican Republic came six months to the day after a hit squad allegedly made up of Colombian commandos, Haitian police officers and others piled into vehicles from Jaar’s home in Petionville and drove to the president’s nearby residence to carry out his assassination.

Jaar is expected to have his first appearance in Miami federal court on Thursday. A criminal complaint and affidavit charging him in the conspiracy case targeting Haiti’s president has not been unsealed.

In early January, U.S. authorities had arrested a former Colombian sergeant, Mario Antonio Palacios Palacios, who had fled to Jamaica after months of hiding in Haiti and was deported back to Colombia by a Jamaican judge. During a layover in Panama, he was detained and told there was an arrest warrant for him in the U.S.

During his initial appearance in federal court, Palacios became the first person to be formally charged in Moïse’s assassination. A criminal complaint drafted by the FBI accuses Palacios, 43, of conspiracy to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States, and providing material support resulting in death, knowing that such support would be used to carry out a plot to kill the Haitian president.

U.S. investigators have their sights on a third suspect who is currently in custody in Jamaica.

A week after Jaar’s arrest in the Dominican Republic, Jamaican authorities arrested a former Haitian senator, John Joel Joseph, who was with his wife and two children in St. Elizabeth parish.

Both Jaar and Joseph are accused of being part of meetings and planning leading up to the July 7, 2021, attack on Moise while he was at home in a hillside house above the hills of Port-au-Prince, according to a Haiti National Police investigative report. The report, obtained by the Miami Herald, described the attack as being launched from Jaar’s house, which housed the Colombian soldiers implicated in the killing, as well as weapons and vehicles.

The report also described Joseph as the person who rented four vehicles used by the Colombians on the night they stormed the president’s residence and killed him. Jaar has been identified as one of the persons who helped finance the assassination plot, according to a Haiti human-rights group.

Meanwhile, Haitian authorities have arrested 44 individuals in the assassination of the president, including 18 former members of the Colombian military who were recruited to come to Haiti. Of those, 39 are still in custody.

Haiti’s investigative judge overseeing the inquiry into Moïse’s assassination is being removed from the case after failing to meet a legal deadline on bringing formal charges, signaling a significant delay in the prosecution of dozens of suspects being held but not formally charged.

©2022 Miami Herald.

Visit miamiherald.com.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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