One of the suspects arrested in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was a former confidential source with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the agency said.
The news was reported by the Miami Herald, which said the suspect was first arrested over 20 years ago after allegedly providing false information for a US passport application. The person then became an occasional source for the DEA, the outlet reported.
The DEA did not name the suspect but confirmed to NBC News that the person was “sometimes” a source for the agency.
“Following the assassination of President Moïse, the suspect contacted his contacts at the DEA,” the agency said in a statement. “A DEA official assigned to Haiti urged the suspect to surrender to local authorities and, along with a US State Department official, provided information to the Haitian government who assisted in the surrender and arrest of the suspect and another individual.
Moïse was killed on Wednesday after a group of assassins ambushed his home in Port-au-Prince in what interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph called a “highly coordinated” attack. The president’s wife, Martine Moïse, was injured in the morning shooting and was airlifted to a Miami hospital for treatment, according to Haiti’s ambassador to the United States.
“Haiti has lost a true statesman,” said Joseph. “We will ensure that those responsible for this heinous act are promptly brought to justice. “
He said the assassin group was “highly trained and heavily armed”. He called the murder a “heinous, inhuman and barbaric act”.
Bocchit Edmond, Haiti’s ambassador to the United States, previously said the assassins appeared to be claiming to be DEA agents.
State Department spokesman Ned Price refuted the claims as “absolutely false.” The DEA again denied the information in its statement to NBC News.
“The DEA is aware of reports that the assassins of President Moïse shouted ‘DEA’ at the time of their attack. These individuals were not acting on behalf of the DEA, ”the agency said.
Haitian police arrested 18 Colombians and three Haitian Americans for the murder. Five Colombians are still at large and three have been killed, authorities said.
One of those arrested was Christian Emmanuel Sanon, 63, who, according to authorities, traveled to Haiti aboard a private jet in early June accompanied by hired security officers. National Police Chief Leon Charles has said Sanon wants to take over the presidency.