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Haitian American becomes first US citizen to plead guilty in plot to kill Haiti's president

Jay Weaver, Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

A Haitian-American man from South Florida Tuesday became the first U.S. citizen to plead guilty to conspiring to kill Haiti’s president, admitting that he attended key meetings to carry out the assassination more than two years ago.

In doing so, Joseph Vincent also became the fourth of 11 defendants charged in the Miami federal case to accept responsibility for his supporting role in the murder plot spanning South Florida, Haiti and Colombia.

Vincent, 58, admitted that he met with a group of co-conspirators in Haiti on the eve of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on July 7, 2021, in a factual statement filed with his plea agreement. He also wore a U.S. State Department pin to make himself look official to his Haitian counterparts, the statement says. He also participated in a plan to stir up protests against Haiti’s leader and use them as a cover to remove Moïse by force using weapons.

And lastly, the statement says, he joined other co-conspirators in a vehicle that drove to the president’s home outside Port-au-Prince when a group of Colombian commandos killed him during the nighttime ambush.

U.S. District Judge Jose Martinez asked Vincent if all this information was “true” at Tuesday’s hearing.

“Yes, it’s true, your honor,” Vincent told the judge.

 

Faces up to life in prison

Vincent pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support in the assassination, providing that support, and conspiring to kill or kidnap a person outside the United States. He faces up to life in prison at his sentencing hearing before Judge Martinez on Feb. 9, 2024.

At the hearing, federal prosecutor Frank Russo highlighted his role in the murder conspiracy: “Vincent provided advice to his co-conspirators about the Haitian political landscape, attended meetings with important Haitian political and community leaders, and frequently wore a U.S. State Department pin, which had the effect of leading others to believe that he was employed by the U.S. State Department.”

Vincent, a former informant with the Drug Enforcement Administration, is expected to be a key cooperating witness against other co-conspirators, including fellow Haitian American James Solages. Solages is accused of collaborating with CTU Security, a Doral-based security company owned and operated by Antonio Intriago, a defendant in the case who met with Solages in South Florida and in Haiti before Moïse’s assassination.

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