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U.S. arrests third suspect in assassination of Haiti President Moise

U.S. arrests third suspect in assassination of Haiti President Moise
Haiti President Jovenel Moise (C) was killed last July in a brazen attack on his Port-au-Prince residence. File Photo by Jean Marc Herve Abelard/EPA-EFE

May 9 (UPI) -- The United States on Monday charged a former Haitian senator with conspiring to kill Haitian President Jovenel Moise, becoming the third person charged by U.S. authorities in the assassination plot.

On Monday, U.S. prosecutors unsealed an indictment charging Joseph Joel John, 51, with being present during a meeting where an unnamed co-conspirator identified as a dual Haitian-American citizen secured the signature of a former Haitian judge to arrest and imprison Moise as well as providing them with immunity for thier actions.

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John is also accused of obtaining vehicles and firearms to support the kidnapping operation, and faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if convicted.

Moise was killed July 7 of last year in a brazen attack on his home in the capital Port-au-Prince by armed assailants. His wife, Martine Moise, sustained gunshot wounds to her arms and thigh as well as suffered other injuries during the assault and was flown to Miami to receive treatment at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

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Authorities have said 20 Colombian citizens and a handful of dual Haitian-American citizens participated in the plot to kidnap and arrest Moise that devolved into an assassination.

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John was arrested in Jamaica along with three members of his family in mid-January at a St. Elizabeth home by members of the Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Unit on immigration-related charges, the Jamaica Constabulary Force said in a statement that identifies him by the name Jean Joel Joseph.

He was then extradited to Miami on Friday after Jamaica in late April okayed the U.S. extradition request, federal prosecutors said.

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John, who remains in U.S. law enforcement custody, made his first court appearance Monday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lauren Louis.

His arrest follows that of Rodolphe Jaar in the Dominican Republic and of Mario Antonio Palacios in Jamaica. Both have been indicted on similar charges by U.S. prosecutors.

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