MIAMI – Haiti’s police announced Friday evening that officers had detained the 18th Colombian accused of being involved in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.
After the assassination, Haiti National Police Chief Léon Charles told reporters in Port-au-Prince that there were 28 suspects and three had died in a shootout. By Friday evening, the police had identified 20 suspects detained.
Colombian authorities identified the two killed during a shootout with Haitian authorities as Mauricio Javier Romero Medina, 45, and Duberney Capador Giraldo, 40, both Colombian military retirees.
Investigators are still searching for suspects. Haitian police identified the two Haitian Americans detained as Joseph Vincent and James Solages. Here is the list of 18 Colombian suspects detained:
- Jaimes Gersain Mendivelso
- German Alejandro Rivera Garcia
- John Jader Andela
- Neil Caceres Duran
- Alex Miyer Pena
- Carlos Giovani Guerrero Torres
- Angel Mario Yarce Sierra
- Alberto Jheyner Carmona Florez
- Francisco Eladio Uribe Ochoa
- Naiser Franco Castaneda
- Enalder Vargas Gomez
- John Jairo Suares Alegria
- Alejandro Girardo Zapata
- John Jairo Ramirez Gomez
- Victor Albeiro Pinera Cardona
- Manuel Antonio Grosso Guarin
- Juan Carlos Yepes Clabijo
- Edwin Blaunicet
Political tensions have grown. Joseph Lambert, the former head of the senate, wants to lead the country until the September elections. Before Moïse was killed, he designated Ariel Henry, a neurosurgeon, as the next prime minister. The national police and the military recognize Claude Joseph as the interim prime minister.
As investigators work on putting together a complicated international puzzle, the numbers reported keep changing. On Friday, the Colombian military identified 13 of the suspects as retired members of the Colombian military.
Colombian National Police Gen. Jorge Luis Vargas Valencia told reporters on Friday in Bogotá four companies recruited 13 of the Colombian suspects in Haiti, including a retired lieutenant colonel. He said the groups traveled separately to the Dominican Republic to cross the border into Haiti.
The Haitian Americans, James Solages and Joseph Vincent, told Haitian authorities that they were part of an operation to arrest Moïse — not to kill him — and were only there as translators, Haitian Investigative Judge Clément Noël said, according to Le Nouvelliste, a Haitian newspaper published in French.
Schubert Dorisme, of Tamarac, said Solages, 35, is his wife’s nephew and he has known him for about seven years. He said he was in shock when he found out Wednesday night that Solages had been arrested in Port-au-Prince.
“He doesn’t have military training,” Dorisme said Thursday afternoon. “He wasn’t in the military.”
Dorisme said Solages travels to Haiti regularly to do charity work and visit his parents. State records show he was the president of FWA SA A JACMEL AVAN, INC., a Florida nonprofit organization named after Jacmel, a port town on the south coast of Haiti.
Dorisme said Solages had once dreamed of being the mayor of Jacmel.
“Yeah, he helped in Haiti ... there is no way that thing would happen. That’s why I say probably somebody else used him,” Dorisme said. “I mean, we cannot believe it. I love my president ... I don’t think so. I don’t think he’s capable to do these things. I think somebody used him.”
Florida records show Solages had expired security officer and firearm licenses.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a news conference in Washington that President Joe Biden’s administration is “in close consultations” with Haitian and international partners to “support the Haitian people in the aftermath of the assassination of the president.”
Colombian news conference (Spanish)
Coverage on July 8
Coverage on July 7