Florida-based doctor arrested in Haiti president’s assassination


A Haitian-born doctor, who was based in Florida for more than 2 decades, has been arrested as a central suspect in the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse, according to The New York Times.

About two dozen people have been arrested as suspects, the newspaper reported, though police believe Christian Emmanuel Sanon, 63, was plotting to become president.

“He arrived by private plane in June with political objectives and contacted a private security firm to recruit the people who committed this act,” Léon Charles, Haiti’s national police chief, said during a news conference on July 11.

The firm, called CTU Security, is a Venezuelan company based in Miami, Mr. Charles said. During a raid at Mr. Sanon’s home in Port-au-Prince, police found six rifles, 20 boxes of bullets, 24 unused shooting targets, pistol holsters, and a hat with a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency logo.

“This initial mission that was given to these assailants was to protect the individual named Emmanuel Sanon, but afterwards, the mission changed,” Mr. Charles said.

The new “mission” was to arrest President Moïse and install Mr. Sanon as president, The New York Times reported, though Mr. Charles didn’t explain when the mission changed to assassination or how Mr. Sanon could have taken control of the government.

President Moïse was shot to death on July 7 at his home in Port-au-Prince by a “team of commandos,” according to The Washington Post. On July 9, Haiti asked the U.S. to send troops to the country to protect its airport and key infrastructure.

The announcement of Mr. Sanon’s arrest came hours after FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials arrived in Haiti on July 11 to discuss how the U.S. can offer assistance, the newspaper reported.

Mr. Sanon has a YouTube channel with three political campaign videos from 2011, which include discussions about Haitian politics, according to Forbes. In one of the videos, titled “Dr. Christian Sanon – Leadership for Haiti,” Mr. Sanon talks about corruption in the country and presents himself as a potential leader.

Mr. Sanon lived in Florida for more than 20 years, ranging from the Tampa Bay area to South Florida, according to the Miami Herald. Public records show that he had more than a dozen businesses registered in the state, including medical services and real estate, though most are inactive.

Mr. Sanon is the third person with links to the U.S. who has been arrested in connection with the assassination, the Miami Herald reported. Two Haitian-Americans from southern Florida – James Solages, 35, and Joseph G. Vincent, 55 – were arrested by local police. They claimed they were working as translators for the assassins.

The first lady, Martine Moïse, was wounded in the attack and is now receiving treatment at a hospital in Miami, the newspaper reported.

A version of this article first appeared on WebMD.com.

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