MIAMI, CMC – A former informant for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Joseph Vincent, was sentenced to life in prison on Friday for his role in the 2021 assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise.
Vincent, a Haitian-American national, admitted to helping plot to kill Moïse in his home in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, including advice about the political landscape and meetings with key community leaders.
Vincent is among 11 defendants in the case, which includes Colombian ex-soldiers and businessmen accused of helping supply funds and weapons and carrying out the night-time attack.
Another defendant, Frederick Joseph Bergmann Jr, also pleaded guilty to a role in Moïse’s assassination on Friday. His sentencing was tentatively set for April 18, 2024.
The gunmen had reportedly masqueraded as DEA agents at the time of the attack, although the DEA later said Vincent and another Haitian American, James Solages, had not been acting on behalf of the agency.
The Haitian ambassador to Washington, Bocchit Edmond, said at the time that Moïse’s killers claimed to be members of the DEA as they entered his guarded residence.
“This was a well-orchestrated commando attack,” Edmond said not long after the killing. “They presented themselves as DEA agents, telling people they had come as part of a DEA operation.”
In videos circulating on social media, a man with an American accent was heard saying in English over a megaphone: “DEA operation. Everybody stands down. DEA operation. Everybody back up, stand down.”
Residents reported hearing gunshots and seeing men dressed in black running through the neighbourhood.
Rodolphe Jaar, a Haitian Chilean businessman, was considered the mastermind of the assassination and was sentenced to life imprisonment by a federal court judge in Florida last summer.
On Friday the court ruled that Vincent will be held in a Florida prison.