Two ‘hitmen’ suspected of helping to assassinate Haiti’s president both worked for a Miami-based security firm that paid staff $2,700-a-month to ‘provide protection for powerful individuals’ on the island, it was claimed Saturday.
Haiti National Police believe 28 people were involved in Wednesday’s raid that killed President Jovenel Moïse, 53, with 17 arrested, three dead and eight still at large.
The sister of one of the dead suspects, Duberney Capador, 40, said her brother, who retired from the Colombian army in 2019 with the rank of sergeant, was hired by a private security firm with the understanding he would be providing protection for powerful individuals in Haiti.
She said she knew nothing about his employer, but shared a photo of her brother emblazoned in the logo of CTU Security – a company based in Doral, a Miami suburb popular with Colombian migrants.
Two suspects accused of helping to assassinate Haiti’s president worked for a Miami firm called CTU Security. Pictured is its president, Tony Intriago. He has not been linked to the plot
CTU´s website lists two addresses, one of which is a gray-colored warehouse that was shuttered Friday with no sign indicating who it belonged to
The other is a small suite under a different company´s name in a modern office building a few blocks away
The wife of Francisco Uribe, who was among those arrested, told Colombia’s W Radio that CTU offered to pay the men about $2,700 a month – a paltry sum for a dangerous international mission but far more than what most of the men, noncommissioned officers and professional soldiers, earned from their pensions.
CTU Security was registered in 2008 and lists as its president Antonio Intriago, who is also affiliated with several other Florida-registered entities, some of them since dissolved, including the Counter Terrorist Unit Federal Academy, the Venezuelan American National Council and Doral Food Corp.
CTU´s website lists two addresses, one of which is a gray-colored warehouse that was shuttered Friday with no sign indicating who it belonged to.
The other is a small suite under a different company´s name in a modern office building a few blocks away.
A receptionist at the office said Intriago stops by every few days to collect mail and hold meetings. Intriago, who is Venezuelan, did not return phone calls and an email seeking comment. He has not been linked to last week’s events in Haiti.
Duberney Capador’s sister Yenny said she last spoke to her brother late Wednesday – hours after Moïse´s murder – when the men, holed up in a home and surrounded, were desperately trying to negotiate their way out of a shootout.
American-Haitian James Solages, 35, (left) worked as a driver and bodyguard for a relief organization set up by Sean Penn (right, in Haiti) following the magnitude 7.0 quake that killed 300,000 Haitians and left tens of thousands homeless
Solages (left) and Joseph Vincent (right) are seen at a Thursday press conference where Haitian authorities paraded the detained suspects. The two US citizens allegedly claimed they were hired as translators in a plot to arrest the Haitian president but not to kill him
‘He told me not to tell our mother, so she wouldn´t worry,’ she said, fighting back tears.
‘We are the ones who are most interested in clarifying what happened, so that my brother´s reputation does not remain like it is,’ said Capador. ‘He was a humble, hard-working man. He had honors and decorations.’
It´s not known who masterminded the attack. And numerous questions remain about how the perpetrators were able to penetrate the president´s residence posing as U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents, meeting little resistance from those charged with protecting the president.
Uribe is under investigation in the alleged murder of an unarmed civilian in 2008 who was presented as someone killed in combat, one of thousands of extrajudicial killings that rocked Colombia´s U.S.-trained army more than a decade ago.
Besides the Colombians, among those detained by police were two Haitian Americans, one of whom worked with Sean Penn after the star set up a charity to help rebuild the island after its devastating 2020 earthquake.
James Solages, 35, worked as a driver and bodyguard for the relief organization set up to respond to the aftermath of the magnitude 7.0 quake that killed 300,000 Haitians and left tens of thousands homeless.
It is not known if they ever worked directly together.
Suspects in the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise are shown to the media in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Thursday
In an online profile Solages also lists as past employers the Canadian Embassy in Haiti, while his Facebook page – which was taken down following news of his arrest – features photos of armored military vehicles and a shot of himself standing in front of an American flag.
Solages described himself as a ‘certified diplomatic agent,’ an advocate for children and budding politician on a now-removed website for a charity he started in 2019 in south Florida to assist resident of his home town of Jacmel, on Haiti´s southern coast.
Solages and fellow Haitian-American Joseph Vincent, 55, are said to have confessed to being involved in Wednesday’s early morning raid that left president Jovenel Moïse dead and his wife fighting for her life. However, they allegedly claimed they were hired as translators in a plot to arrest politician but not to kill him.
Vincent allegedly claimed the plot was orchestrated by a foreigner named ‘Mike’ who spoke English and Spanish, they planned to take Moïse to the National Palace and the plot was devised over the course of a month in a hotel in Pétion-Ville.
Jean Laguel Civil, Moïse’s security coordinator and Dimitri Hérard, head of the General Security Unit of the National Palace will be questioned.
Haitian Prosecutor Me Bed-Ford Claude said he had seen no casualties among the president’s security detail following the assassination.
‘They are responsible for the security of the president… I did not see any police victim except the president and his wife. If you are responsible for the security of the president where were you?’
Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and First Lady Martine are pictured together in 2017. Moïse was riddled with 12 bullet holes and had his eye gouged out during Wednesday’s brutal attack, which killed him and seriously injured his wife
Officials said they are still looking for the ‘intellectual authors’ of the plot. National Police Director Leon Charles said ‘we have the physical perpetrators in hand and we are looking for the instigators.’
It also emerged that the hit squad stayed at a home recently vacated by politician Magalie Habitant, an apparent ally of the murdered president.
However, she claims she left the property in Thomassin three months ago and hired it from a lawyer.
Habitant was implicated in a 2019 plot when seven heavily-armed foreign mercenaries were arrested in Haiti before fleeing the country. She was suspected of buying the vehicles used by the group and was temporarily banned from leaving the country.
In total, Haiti National Police said there were 28 presumed assassins responsible for Wednesday’s raid, with 17 arrested, three dead and eight still at large.
The remaining 26 are all Colombians with the Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano saying preliminary information points to them being retired members of the country’s military.
Key members of the mercenary outfit were in the country for three months preparing for the attack, while others arrived from the Dominican Republic, which Haiti shares a land border with, last month, officials said.
Weaponry, mobile phones, passports and other items are being shown to the media along with suspects in the assassination
While the public is demanding answers around who is responsible for the death of their president, the nation is also in turmoil over who is the next rightful leader.
Under the constitution, Haiti’s chief justice René Sylvestre would normally take charge after the President’s death – but he died of COVID-19 two weeks ago.
Following Moïse’s slaying, a power struggle has broken out between Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph and Prime Minister-elect Ariel Henry.
Moïse’s assassination came just one day after he named Henry as the new prime minister, who would have replaced Joseph in a matter of days.
However, Joseph assumed sole power of the embattled country, declaring a ‘state of siege’ granting him absolute authority hours after the president’s murder.
Henry – who has the backing of many opposition politicians – said he does not consider Joseph the legitimate prime minister and he should revert to the role of foreign minister.
There are growing questions over who had a motive to order Moïse’s assassination as the alleged mercenary execution squad are slowly rounded up and details are emerging about the individuals.