Former DEA Informant Pleads Guilty in Conspiracy to Kill Haitian President
A former confidential DEA informant, Joseph Vincent, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to kill Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, whose assassination in 2021 sparked unprecedented turbulence in the Caribbean nation.
Vincent, a Haitian-American citizen living in the United States, attended meetings in South Florida and Haiti before the crime. He is now the fourth of 11 defendants in Miami to plead guilty. He faces charges of conspiracy to kill and kidnap a person outside the United States and conspiracy to provide material support and resources. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to life in prison.
According to authorities, about 20 Colombian citizens and several Haitian-American citizens participated in the plot. The conspirators initially planned to kidnap the Haitian president, but later decided to kill him. Investigations suggest that the assassins hoped to obtain contracts with Moïse’s successor.
Vincent, dressed in a beige prison uniform, pleaded guilty in a hearing in front of federal Judge José E. Martínez. He was handcuffed and ankle-cuffed and seated next to his attorney, Kenneth Swartz.
Under the plea deal, Vincent agreed to cooperate in the investigation, and prosecutors said they would drop two counts of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States. The judge will hand down the sentence on February 9, 2024.
Others involved in the conspiracy include retired Colombian army officer Germán Alejandro Rivera García, who was sentenced to life in prison in October, Chilean-Haitian businessman Rodolphe Jaar, who was sentenced to life in prison in June, and former Haitian senator John Joël Joseph, who will be sentenced on December 19. According to prosecutors, they were all part of a plot hatched in Haiti and Florida that ended in the shooting death of Moïse in his private home near the capital Port-au-Prince on July 7, 2021.
Vincent was close to Haitian-American suspects James Solages and Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a South Florida resident and pastor who was eager to replace Moïse as president, according to the indictment. Both Solages and Sanon were among the first to be arrested after the murder.