Jul 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Suspect arrested in assassination of Haitian president is former DEA source

Police clear the streets as demonstrators protest.

Police clear the streets as demonstrators protest in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP

A suspect arrested in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was "at times" a confidential source for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, a spokesman for the agency confirmed Tuesday.

What they're saying: The DEA did not identify the suspect, but said that after the attack, the individual reached out to his DEA contacts, who "urged the suspect to surrender to local [Haitian] authorities."

  • "A DEA official assigned to Haiti urged the suspect to surrender to local authorities and, along with a U.S. State Department official, provided information to the Haitian government that assisted in the surrender and arrest of the suspect and one other individual," the DEA said in an emailed statement.
  • The Miami Herald was first to report the news.

The big picture: More than 20 suspects have been arrested so far in connection to the assassination, AP reports.

  • According to Haiti's ambassador to the U.S., the assassins claimed to be DEA agents during the attack, per Reuters.
  • The DEA spokesman said Tuesday that the agency is "aware of reports that President Moïse's assassins yelled 'DEA' at the time of their attack," but "these individuals were not acting on behalf of DEA."

Go deeper: DOJ to assist in Haiti assassination investigation

Go deeper