Former member of Colombia’s military, Mario Antonio Palacios (43), is being accused by Haitian authorities that he was part of a mercenary team that killed and tortured President Jovenel Moise of Haiti in July.
A key suspect in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was arrested in Miami Tuesday, after being detained and deported by lawmen in Jamaica, officials say.
Mario Antonio Palacios, 43, a former member of the Colombian military, is accused by Haitian authorities of being part of a mercenary group that tortured and killed Moïse and wounded his wife, Martine, during an attack on Moïse’s private home in July.
Palacios, who admitted to previously being in Haiti at time of attack, was allegedly deported after escaping from the Caribbean islands by boat. Then, Palacios was reported by The Gleaner, Jamaican news outlet.
Palacios talked to The Week about his suspicions regarding the Haitan government before he was apprehended in Jamaica by authorities on October 25th, according to the Jamaican government.
Jovenel Moise was the Haitian president. He was shot at his Port-au-Prince official residence on July 7.
A video that circulated online, purportedly recorded by a neighbor of President Trump shows men carrying guns outside the property.
The Haitian government created a wanted poster showing Palacios (an ex-Colombian soldier). After Palacios’ deportation from Jamaica, Haiti sent an Interpol red alert to Palacios.
A group of gunmen raided Moise’s private home on July 7, and forced the entrance. Palacios will face a formal criminal charge when he is arraigned on Tuesday afternoon.
During the bombshell interview, Palacios asserted that he did not know who killed Moïse, but bizarrely conceded that he had been in the world leader’s bedroom the night of the attack.
‘I don’t know who killed him. Palacios stated that he said it out of love for his family and for his children.
‘I don’t know who killed him because when I got to that room, the Yepes commandos and Mr. Romero were already there,’ said the retired military man referring to two of three other Colombian commandos killed during a clash with Haitian police after Moïse’s assassination.
“I will tell you the truth. Tell me the whole truth about what happened. Because here, there is no guarantee of anything, I’m a fugitive. The Police here are corrupt.
He continued, “There’s nothing here.” This is not man’s territory. My skin colour saved me. I’ve been hiding all day in certain places, and I have this terrible fear about my future.
Homeland Security officials reportedly handcuffed Following the deportation of the ex-commando by Jamaican authorities, Palacios was allowed to arrive in the USA. of being involved in the coordinated attack on the world leader.
To the chagrin of Haitian authorities, earlier this week, Palacios, who had been held in a detention center in Jamaica since October, was deported to his home nation of Colombia, instead of Haiti to face his alleged crimes.
However, during a stopover of a flight in Panama, the suspected mercenary – who is also known as ‘Floro’ – was again detained, Colombian immigration sources said that the Colombian source asked him to “voluntarily” board a plane to the United States.
Although Palacios’s transfer from Panama into the USA is still a mystery at this point, it shows how law enforcement agencies seek to cut through extradition-related red tape.
Panamanian officials stated that they would apply an Interpol red note issued by the United States to Haiti in case he refused, according to a source.
Haiti issued an Interpol red note for Palacios.
Panama’s authorities did not make any public comments on this matter, however, a Panamaan familiar with the situation confirmed that Palacios was detained by US homeland security officials.
Palacios is now scheduled to appear before a federal court Tuesday afternoon, where he will be indicted and face formal charges drafted by Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI that have yet to be revealed.
According to sources familiar with the investigation however, the ex-Colombian commando will be facing charges for conspiracy to give material support leading to the death of foreign leaders and conspiracy to kidnap, kill and maim foreign leaders when he is charged Tuesday.
Once arraigned, Palacios will be the first person allegedly involved in the brazen assassination – which saw a group of armed men storm the 53-year-old president’s private villa in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince – to be formally charged with a crime.
Following Moïse’s murder, Haitian investigators arrested 44 other suspects, including 18 Colombians and two Americans of Haitian descent.
One of the initial suspects has died from COVID-related illness, while four other were released recently by a Haitian judge who was overseeing this investigation.
None of those individuals have been charged, despite the sprawling six-month probe by the Haitian government, which has produced few concrete answers as to why Moïse was killed – until now.
Haitian authorities contend that Palacios was one of the main executors of the coordinated, nighttime strike that led to Moïse’s July 7 assassination, per the Miami Herald, who obtained a Haitian police report pertaining to the highly publicized case.
Following an attack on Haiti’s Presidential Residence Jovenel Mose, Port-au-Prince Haiti on July 7, 2017, security personnel inspect the scene
Near the entry to the home of Jovenel Moise, a number of ammunition casings were found on the ground.
Jovenel Mose, the President of Haiti, was killed in his Pelerin 5 neighborhood in the hills above Port-au-Prince.
After the assassination of July 7, Presidential Guards guard the Port-au-Prince entrance of Jovenel Mose’s residence.
Unmarked car with bullet holes erected outside of Port-au-Prince’s presidential residence after the July 7th attack
Per the document, Palacios is part of a list of dozens of suspects thought to be part of the assassination squad that now includes 26 Colombians – including Palacios – and the two aforementioned Haitian-Americans
At night, they claimed that the raider was part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Palacios, on Tuesday, will be appearing in federal court. He faces charges which, in the US., often result in death.
Suspects in the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse are moved to be displayed to the media at police headquarters in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The president was assassinated by the Haitian authorities on July 7.
Suspects in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, who was shot dead July 7, pictured