Belleville News-Democrat

Florida resident detained as key suspect in Haiti killing

- BY DANICA COTO

The latest suspect detained amid the search for the mastermind­s and assassins in the killing of President Jovenel Moise is a Haitian in his 60s living in Florida who identifies himself as a doctor and has accused the leaders of his homeland of corruption.

Police identified the man on Sunday night as Christian Emmanuel Sanon and said Moise’s alleged killers were protecting him.

The head of Haiti’s police, Leon Charles, accused Sanon of working with those who plotted and participat­ed in Moise’s killing, which stunned the nation of more than 11 million people. He gave no informatio­n on the purported mastermind­s.

Charles said that among the items found by officers at Sanon’s house in Haiti were a hat emblazoned with the logo of the U.S. Drug Enforcemen­t Administra­tion, 20 boxes of bullets, gun parts, four automobile license plates from the Dominican Republic, two cars and correspond­ence with unidentifi­ed people.

“We continue to make strides,” Charles said of police efforts to solve the brazen attack early Wednesday at Moise’s private home that killed the president and seriously wounded his wife, Martine, who is hospitaliz­ed in Miami.

Charles said Sanon was in contact with a firm that provides security for politician­s and recruited the suspects in the killing. He said Sanon flew into Haiti on a private jet accompanie­d by several of the alleged gunmen.

The gunmen’s initial mission was to protect Sanon, but they later received a new order: to arrest the president, Charles said.

“The operation started from there,” he said, adding that an additional 22 suspects joined the group and that contact was made with Haitian citizens.

A total of 26 Colombians are suspected in the killing of the president. Eighteen have been arrested, along with three Haitians. Charles said five of the suspects are still at large and at least three have been killed.

“They are dangerous individual­s,” Charles said. “I’m talking commando, specialize­d commando.”

Charles said that after Moise was killed, one of the suspects phoned Sanon, who then got in touch with two people believed to be the intellectu­al authors of the plot. He did not identify the mastermind­s or say-whether police know who they are.

The police chief said Haitian authoritie­s obtained the informatio­n from interrogat­ions and other parts of the investigat­ion. He added that police are working with high-ranking Colombian officials to identify details of the alleged plot, including when the suspects left Colombia and who paid for their tickets.

Sanon has lived in Broward County in Florida, as well as in Hillsborou­gh County on the Gulf Coast. Records show he has also lived in Kansas City, Missouri. He filed for bankruptcy in 2013 and identifies himself as a doctor in a video on YouTube.

However, records show Sanon has never been licensed to practice medicine in Florida or any other occupation covered by the state’s Department of Health.

In the video, he denounces the leaders of Haiti as corrupt, accusing them of stripping the country of its resources.

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