Moise was killed Wednesday at his home in Port-au-Prince, in an attack that rocked a country already shaken by endemic violence and political instability.
The arrested suspect, identified as Christian Emmanuel Sanon, 63, entered the country on a private jet in June, police chief Leon Charles said at a press conference.
Police did not say what Sanon would be charged with or what his motives were, other than saying that he had arrived with “political intentions.”
Sanon was reportedly in contact with a Venezuelan security company based in Florida to recruit 26 Colombian mercenaries and two Haitian-Americans. Their first mission was to ensure the safety of Sanon, but this mission would have evolved over time.
Police said they had received information about the operation from the detained Colombians.
After the assassination, Sanon was the first person one of the suspected killers called, the police chief said.
During a raid on Sanon’s home, police said they found 20 boxes of 12 and 9-millimeter ammunition, gun and pistol cases, 24 unused shooting targets, a cap marked “DEA”, two Dominican Republic vehicles and four license plates.
Police said they also found correspondence with “different parts of the country” but did not say who or what.
It is not yet clear whether Sanon, who police say was born in Marigot, Haiti, has retained a lawyer to deal with the potential charges, and he has yet to comment publicly on the allegations.
Charles said Haitian police were working with Colombian government intelligence to track how the mercenaries got to Haiti, who they were working with in Colombia, and who funded the operation.
Authorities called the group of suspects “professional killers”, made up of members of the Colombian military. But even as more details begin to emerge about who allegedly killed Moses, little is known about the alleged brains and their motivation for the attack.
Sanon’s arrest follows the arrest of two Americans, identified by election minister Mathias Pier, as James Solages and Joseph Vincent, both naturalized Haitians.
The US State Department said on Friday it was aware of the arrests and was providing investigation assistance at Haiti’s request.
A delegation with representatives from the State Department, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security is being sent to Haiti, a White House official said on Sunday. Officials are also considering a request from Haiti to send several hundred US troops to help with stabilization efforts, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told Fox News on Sunday, although he refused to “preempt this process. “.
Colombia also assisted in post-attack security and investigation, sending a special unit of police and national intelligence officials, as well as Interpol personnel assigned to the Colombian police.
Powerful vacuum cleaner
It was 1 a.m. when the attackers stormed the president’s private residence in Pétion-Ville, a suburb of the Haitian capital, shooting Moise 16 times, according to former Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe. First Lady Martine Moise, who was also shot and wounded in the attack, was evacuated to intensive care at a Miami hospital.
The Caribbean nation of around 11 million people, many of whom live in poverty, now faces an even more uncertain future.
Moise’s death comes amid extreme violence in the capital Port-au-Prince which has claimed the lives of many citizens in recent weeks. Haiti was already grappling with political turmoil, a growing humanitarian crisis and a worsening Covid-19 epidemic.
The assassination also leaves a huge power vacuum in Haiti, and no legal roadmap for Moise’s succession. Its parliament is effectively dead and two men simultaneously claim to be the legitimate prime minister of the country.
Parliament became dysfunctional in January 2020, when the terms of two-thirds of the Senate’s 30 members expired, leaving just 10 senators in office.
The president of the Supreme Court would normally be the next to take over on an interim basis, but he recently died of Covid-19, Judge Jean Wilner Morin, president of the National Association of Haitian Judges, told CNN.
Joseph made it clear he was taking the leadership on Wednesday when he declared a “state of siege” in Haiti, closed the country’s borders and imposed martial law. Joseph pledged to retain power until the presidential and legislative elections are held in September.
But he has not been confirmed by parliament, which has not sat since 2020 – and he was set to be replaced by Ariel Henry, whom the president appointed on July 5, shortly before his death.
“Claude Joseph is not Prime Minister, he is part of my government,” Henry told the Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste on Thursday.
Pierre, the election minister, said Joseph will keep his post until the elections, which are expected to take place as scheduled.
The country’s 10 remaining senators instead appointed one of their own, Senator Joseph Lambert, as Haiti’s interim president on Friday – a direct challenge to the current interim leadership.
But less than 24 hours later, Lambert appeared to withdraw, saying on Saturday his swearing-in was postponed without giving a new date for the event.
US delegation meets rival competitors
Members of the US delegation met with rival candidates for the country’s leadership on Sunday, according to Lambert and a source in Joseph’s government.
In a tweet posted on Sunday, Lambert said he had discussed his own candidacy for the top post with the delegation and that they “made an appointment tonight for the next steps.”
According to the government source, US officials on Sunday asked Lambert to be patient in his pursuit of the presidency. Lambert did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
CNN has contacted the US State Department for comment on Lambert’s claims and the government source, but has not received a response.
The government source also said the delegation later met Joseph and Henry at the United States Embassy in Port-au-Prince.
During their meeting with the U.S. delegation, the two rival prime ministers were encouraged to look for a way to work together, the source said.
Henry did not comment publicly on Sunday’s meeting and did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.