A Florida-based doctor was arrested in connection with the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse on Sunday, Haiti’s national police chief announced, becoming the third U.S.-based individual tied to the brazen killing that has caused political chaos in the Caribbean nation.
The person arrested has been identified by police as Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a 63-year-old doctor based in Florida, multiple outlets reported.
The Haitian national police chief, Léon Charles, told the press that Sanon was a central figure behind the assassination and that the doctor had even planned to take over as Haiti’s new president.
Sanon allegedly arrived in Haiti last month in a private plane where he contacted a private security firm to recruit people to carry out the killing, police said.
Haitian police claim that during a raid of Sanon’s home they recovered a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency cap, a box of cartridges, two vehicles, six pistol holsters, about 20 boxes of bullets, 24 unused shooting targets and four license plates from the Dominican Republic.
The announcement of Sanon’s arrest came just hours after senior FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials arrived in Haiti to discuss how the U.S. can offer assistance.
Sanon currently has a YouTube channel containing three political campaign videos from 2011, where he talks about Haitian politics. In one of the videos titled “Dr. Christian Sanon — Leadership for Haiti” he talks about corruption in Haiti and presents himself as a potential leader of the nation.
Sanon is the third individual with links to the U.S. who has been arrested in connection with the assassination. Two Haitian-Americans were arrested by local police last week who have since claimed that they were not in the room when the assassination took place and they were merely working as translators for the assassins.
Haiti has slipped into political turmoil since Wednesday morning when a group of attackers assassinated President Jovenel Moïse in his private residence. Moïse’s death has created a power vacuum at the top and there is no clear line of succession as the country has not had a legislative election in over two years. Acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph has appointed himself as the country’s de facto head, while another politician whom Moïse appointed prime minister days before his death—Ariel Henry—is also staking a claim to power. On Friday, Haiti asked the United States to send troops to the country to protect its airport, seaport, oil and other key infrastructure. Haitian officials have arrested at least 21 people in connection with the assassination so far.