Ex-US government informant gets life over Haiti president’s murder
A former informant for the US government has received a life sentence for his involvement in the killing of Haiti’s former president, Jovenel Moise.
The sentencing occurred two months after Joseph Vincent, a 58-year-old Haitian-American, admitted guilt in the assassination conspiracy of the late president. Addressing the judge before his sentencing in a Miami court, he expressed remorse, saying, “Please forgive me for what I did.”
President Moise was fatally shot at his residence in Port-au-Prince in 2021.
Vincent, previously employed by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), becomes the fourth out of 11 defendants to be given a life sentence in the federal case in Miami, for his supporting role in the assassination scheme.
The trial is taking place in Florida as the US Justice Department determined it fell under its jurisdiction, given that part of the conspiracy was plotted in South Florida.
Vincent, now incarcerated in a Florida prison, confessed to discussing the assassination plan and guiding co-conspirators to Moise’s residence in July 2021. His responsibilities included providing counsel on Haitian politics, engaging with local political and community figures, and inciting protests against Moise as a pretext for his removal, as reported by AFP.
During these interactions, Vincent purportedly wore a US State Department pin to imply affiliation with Washington, though the DEA clarified that Vincent was not acting on behalf of the agency.
Haiti’s ambassador to the US, Bocchit Edmond, dismissed the notion of US drug agents being involved in the attack. Following Moise’s killing, Edmond suggested it was the work of “professional mercenaries.”
Court records indicate that the operation initially aimed for Moise’s abduction but eventually escalated into a full-fledged assassination.
Also on Friday, another suspect, Frederick Joseph Bergmann Jr. pleaded guilty to submitting false or misleading export information. He has been accused of smuggling ballistic vests as part of the plot.
Colombian ex-soldiers and businessmen are also among those accused of helping supply funds or weapons and carrying out the attack.
Haiti has arrested 17 people for the murder of President Moise, according to the Miami Herald, but none of them have been formally charged.
The Caribbean country has not had a president since Mr Moise’s assassination.
Since then, the country has plunged into political chaos and witnessed unprecedented levels of gang violence.
On Friday, the United Nations said January had been the most violent month in the country in more than two years, with some 1,100 people either killed, injured, or kidnapped in the month.