A former Colombian soldier pleaded guilty on Friday to 2 fees associated to the 2021 assassination of Haitian president Jovenel Moise. Mario Antonio Palacios Palacios was amongst a gaggle of gunmen who attacked the president’s house within the early hours of July 7, 2021. Moise died within the assault, and the president’s spouse, Martine, was injured as properly. Palacios was charged within the Southern District of Florida as a result of a part of the conspiracy to homicide Moise befell in that district. Particularly, Palacios was charged with violating 18 USC § 2339A, conspiracy to offer materials assist leading to dying, in addition to 18 USC 956(a)(1), conspiracy to kill or kidnap outdoors america.
The factual proffer for the plea deal detailed how Palacios was contracted by an American safety firm. Palacio’s understanding was that he was employed to offer safety for a future President of Haiti. When he arrived in Haiti alongside different Colombian ex-commandos, the defendant discovered that their actual mission was to “arrest” President Moise. In response to the factual proffer:
By no less than July 6, 2021, the Defendant had been knowledgeable that the Colombian contractors can be conducting an operation on the Presidential residence. Earlier than the start of the operation, the Defendant was additionally instructed that the President was going to die. On July 7, 2021, the Defendant and others entered the Presidential residence, and actually the President was killed. The Colombian contractors took cash and jewellery from the Presidential residence, and the Defendant saved a few of that cash and jewellery.
After an FBI-led investigation uncovered his identification, Palacios was arrested by Jamaican police outdoors of Kingston and dropped at Miami to await trial. On the time of his arrest, Palacios had in his possession a number of private gadgets from the president’s house, together with a necklace that belonged to Martine.
Different members of the conspiracy have been sentenced to life in jail for his or her position in a dying that despatched Haiti into political turmoil and created a significant humanitarian crisis within the nation. Nevertheless, Palacios is more likely to see much less jail time, because the prosecutor described his position within the conspiracy as “minor”. The plea settlement suggested the courtroom that Palacios ought to obtain a lower-than-usual sentence. The settlement mentioned this was as a result of the defendant “didn’t take part within the planning of the felony actions, had no decision-making authority inside the conspiracy, and anticipated however by no means obtained a wage for his participation.”