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U.S. Charges Former Colombian Soldier in Haitian President’s Assassination

The man told U.S. authorities he was hired to travel to Haiti to provide security and participate in an operation to arrest President Jovenel Moïse, documents say
U.S. charges former Colombian soldier in Haitian president's assassination
Mario Antonio Palacios, 43, a Colombian national who was arrested and charged in the U.S. in connection with the plot to assassinate Haitian President Jovenel Moíse, appears in court in Miami on Tuesday.Daniel Pontet / Reuters

NBC News

The U.S. government announced Tuesday that it charged one of the main suspects in the killing of Haitian president Jovenel Moïse as it unsealed a complaint that revealed federal authorities had interviewed him several months ago while he was hiding in Jamaica.

Mario Antonio Palacios Palacios, a 43-year-old former Colombian soldier, is charged with conspiracy to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States and with providing material support resulting in death, knowing or intending that such material support would be used to prepare for or carry out the conspiracy to kill or kidnap.

He appeared at a federal court in Miami on Tuesday afternoon but did not enter a plea. Palacios, who was wearing jeans and a gray T-shirt and had his hands and feet shackled, told the judge he wanted to be appointed an attorney. After responding to questions related to his income and property, including that he owned a house in Cali, Colombia, and received a nearly $370 army pension, he was granted counsel based on limited income.

Court-appointed attorney Alfredo Izaguirre told U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia Otazo-Reyes that he recommended Palacios stay in detention because he has no immigration status, relatives or ties to the United States. The judge ordered detention, saying he would be at risk of fleeing.

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