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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

US Arrests Four in Haiti President Assassination Plot

https://ift.tt/ZKV8gQ3. federal agents arrested four Florida men on Tuesday in connection with the July 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, bringing to 11 the number of defendants in the United States facing charges over the plot.

Following the arrests, a federal grand jury in Florida returned a superseding indictment charging all 11 with a variety of crimes related to Moise’s killing in his residence in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince on July 7, 2021. Moise’s wife was shot multiple times during the attack but survived.

“We have one case, one indictment charging the 11 defendants for their individual roles in the plot,” Markenzy Lapointe, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, announced during a press conference in Miami.

Plot to kill allegedly ‘advanced’ in US


The four suspects arrested Tuesday were identified as Arcángel Pretel Ortiz, a Colombian national and U.S. permanent resident; Antonio Intriago, a Venezuelan businessman and U.S. permanent resident; Walter Veintemilla, a U.S. citizen originally from Ecuador living in Florida, and Frederick Bergmann, a U.S. citizen.

The charges announced on Tuesday arise from U.S. laws that prohibit conspiracies to kill or kidnap persons abroad and to provide material support to such efforts, said Matt Olsen, assistant attorney general for national security.

“This assassination was carried out in Port-au-Prince, but as alleged in the complaint, aspects of this deadly plot were advanced inside the United States by co-conspirators and facilitators located here,” Olsen said during the press conference.

“Let me be very clear: The United States will not tolerate those who would plot from our soil to carry out acts of violence abroad, just as we will not tolerate those outside the U.S. who would plot to conduct violence in this country,” Olsen said.


Lapointe said “much of the planning, funding and direction” of the plot to assassinate Moise took place in southern Florida beginning in early 2021.

Three kinds of suspects

Lapointe said the suspects in the assassination plot fall into three broad groups.

“There were the planners and financiers in south Florida,” he said. “Then you also had operators with boots on the ground in Haiti. And there was a third group — those were the hired soldiers from Colombia who traveled to Haiti to carry out the coup.”


The four men arrested Tuesday were among the planners and organizers of the plot, Lapointe said.

Pretel Ortiz and Intriago, principles of a South Florida company called the Counter Terrorist Unit Federal Academy, and Counter Terrorist Unit Security [collectively CTU Security], were the planners, Lapointe said.

Veintemilla, the head of a finance company, is accused of financing the operation. Bergmann is charged with smuggling ballistic vests for the former Colombian soldiers who carried out the assassination.

Lawyers for the four defendants could not be immediately reached for comment.


Author webdesk@voanews.com (Masood Farivar)
Source : VOA

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