Haiti: Head of Security in Custody Over The President's Assassination

Published July 15th, 2021 - 07:33 GMT
head of the General Security Unit of the National Palace, was questioned in President's assassination
Demonstrators pray and demand justice outside of the Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince on July 14, 2021, in the wake of Haitian President Jovenel Moise's assassination on July 7, 2021. Valerie Baeriswyl / AFP
Dimitri Hérard, the head of the General Security Unit of the National Palace, is in custody

Police placed the head of security at Haiti's presidential palace in custody with suspects to be linked to President Jovenel Moïse's assassinated on July 7 who was killed in his Port-au-Prince home. 

Dimitri Hérard, who is the head of the General Security Unit of the National Palace, was questioned at the Inspector General's office on Wednesday, then transferred to a police station in Port-au-Prince, his associate Carl Martin told CNN. 

Martin told CNN that he's coordinating Hérard's legal defense team.

It's unclear what - if any- charges Hérard is facing. Bed-ford Claude, a Haitian prosecutor, told The Washington Post, 'The justice [system] wants him to answer questions.'

Four high-ranking members of the president’s security detail are being held in isolation, according to the National Police, but they didn't say if Hérard was one of the them. 

The Haitian National Police announced the arrest of two more people in connection with the assassination, including Gilbert Dragon, a former police superintendent, and Reynaldo Corvington, who's accused of providing shelter to the assassins. 

Corvington owns a private security company called Corvington Courier & Security Service, which he established in 1982, according to its website, which provides tips on how to survive a kidnapping. 

During their arrests, Haitian National Police said in a statement that they found several bullet cartridges, an AR-15, two handguns and bulletproof vests in Dragon's home. 

And found eight rifles, three grenades and a vehicle when Corvington was arrested, according to police. 

These arrests come just three days after Christian Emmanuel Sanon, 63, who's accused of organized the assignation plot, was taken into custody in Haiti. 

Sanon, who was ties to Florida, entered the country last month on a private plane 'with the intention of taking the Haitian presidency,' the National Police said in a statement on Sunday. 

Sanon allegedly recruited the Miami-based CTU Security, which is registered in Florida as the Counter Terrorist Unit Federal Academy LCC, and CTU Security recruited the Colombians who are accused of carrying out the hit. 

CTU Security is owned by Venezuelan businessman Antonio Intriago, who's facing questions about his company's role in the killing. 

On Wednesday evening, Léon Charles, head of the Haiti's National Police, accused Intriago of traveling to Haiti numerous times as part of the assassination plot and of signing a contract while there, but provided no other details and offered no evidence, The Associated Press reported. 

Charles has said that CTU Security used its company credit card to buy 19 plane tickets from Bogota to Santo Domingo for the Colombian suspects allegedly involved in the killing. 

Florida state records show Intriago´s company has changed names in the past dozen years: CTU Security to CS Security Solutions to Counter Terrorist Unit Federal Academy LLC.

CTU lists two Miami addresses on its website. One is a shuttered warehouse with no signage. The other is a small office suite under a different name. A receptionist said the CTU owner stops by once a week to collect mail.  

The Caribbean nation has spiraled into chaos since the middle-of-the-night murder, with at least three men now claiming to be its leader.

In an effort to quell tensions, President Joe Biden acknowledged the county's interim government's request for help and sent a delegation of US officials to Haiti on Sunday to help with security and aid in the investigation.

They will report back to Biden on their findings as US debates its response.

The group of Colombians and Haitian Americans suspected of carrying out the assassination have reportedly told investigators they were there to arrest Moïse, not kill him.

'They probably were watching and waiting for the opportunity for them to do it,' said Investigative Judge Clément Noël, who was among the first to question the two Haitian-Americans among the 19 suspects detained so far.

Citing people who had spoken to some of the 19 suspects detained so far, the Miami Herald said they said their mission was to arrest Moïse and take him to the presidential palace. 

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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