Palacios Arrested And Charged By US In Assassination Of Haitian President

(CMC) – Colombian Mario Antonio Palacios has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States in relation to the assassination of former Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.

The 43-year-old ex-Colombian army officer is also charged with providing material support resulting in death, knowing or intending that such material support would be used to prepare for or carry out the conspiracy to kill or kidnap.

The charges were disclosed in a statement by the United States Department of Justice on Tuesday.

Palacios was arrested in Jamaica in October and was being deported to his native Colombia on Monday when Interpol notified him during a stopover in Panama that the US government was extraditing him.

The US Department of Justice said Palacios agreed to travel to the US during his layover in Panama.

He is currently in custody and will appear in federal court for his initial appearance later Tuesday.

If convicted of the charges in the complaint, Palacios faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, the statement said.

As alleged in the complaint, which was unsealed on Tuesday, Palacios and others, including a group of approximately 20 other Colombian citizens and a group of Haiti-based dual Haitian-American citizens, participated in a plot to kidnap or kill the former Haitian President.

Also involved in the plot was one conspirator, referred to as ‘Co-conspirator #1’, who “traveled to the United States on June 28, 2021, to, among other things, provide other individuals with a written request for assistance to further the plot relating to the Haitian President”, the released said.

“As alleged in the complaint, while the plot initially focused on conducting a kidnapping of the president as part of a purported arrest operation, it ultimately resulted in a plot to kill the Haitian President,” it added.

The complaint affidavit alleges that, on July 7, 2021, “Palacios and others entered the president’s residence in Haiti with the intent and purpose of killing” Moise, which later occurred.

“Co-conspirator #1, a dual Haitian-American citizen, was subsequently arrested by Haitian authorities and remains in custody in Haiti,” the statement said.

But Palacios eluded arrest and traveled to Jamaica.

The Colombian was arrested in Jamaica on October 11 and convicted of illegally entering the island. He was fined $8,000 or five days in prison and ordered deported.

Last Friday, the Jamaican Supreme Court ruled that authorities here should enforce an order signed by National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang for Palacios to be deported.