US Citizens Arrested in Haiti
Five US Citizens have been arrested in Haiti and charged with “Criminal Conspiracy.” All five people claimed to be on a “Government mission.” The arrests come just four days after the US State Department issued a level 4 travel advisory for the country. That is the highest travel alert for any country.
“Do not travel to Haiti due to crime and civil unrest. There are currently widespread, violent, and unpredictable demonstrations in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti. … Protests, tire burning, and road blockages are frequent and unpredictable. Violent crime, such as armed robbery, is common. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents, and emergency response, including ambulance service, is limited or non-existent.” State Department travel advisory
The five unnamed Americas, one Russian, one Haitian, and one Serbian, were taken into custody on criminal conspiracy charges, as well as illegal possession of weapons. They were arrested at a checkpoint near the central bank, and were reportedly in possession of rifles, pistols, bulletproof vests and drones.
According to the Miami Herald,
“While copies of the group’s U.S. passports, resident alien cards and Haitian driver’s license are circulating on WhatsApp, Haiti National Police officials say they still don’t know who the men are or why they are in Haiti, which has been rocked by violent protests since Feb. 7.”
The International Business Times reported that some of the names on US passports have surfaced, one of whom is listed as a Marine Corps veteran. Reuters reported that several of the names had a military background, but they did not list the names. It is unclear whether that information is correct, and authorities have not confirmed it. This first Tweet is incorrect according to the news we’ve received, as there are reportedly 5 Americans, one Russian, a Haitian, and a Serbian.
Video of 7 US citizens and a Haitian being held at main police station in downtown PAP, #Haiti. They were detained after a cache of automatic weapons, communications equipment and several license plates were found in their vehicles. Why they were stopped is unknown. pic.twitter.com/YvCxaULWIo— HaitiInfoProject 📡 (@HaitiInfoProj) February 18, 2019
Lots of good sleuthing from our Followers. For example here’s background on one of the US passports. pic.twitter.com/HBNPyD14Ga— HaitiInfoProject 📡 (@HaitiInfoProj) February 18, 2019
“We understand that the Haitian National Police detained a group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens. When U.S. citizens are arrested overseas we seek Consular Access as soon as possible and provide appropriate Consular assistance as provided by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.” US State Department
Three days ago, 113 tourists were set to be evacuated on a “rescue flight.” The violence erupted on February 7, with massive protests demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise. At least 7 people have died in the violence. Moise has refused to step down.
“I will not leave the country in the hands of armed gangs and drug traffickers.” President Moise
Canada closed its Embassy in Port-au-Prince, and the US ordered all non-emergency personnel out on the 14th, according to the Jamaica Observer.
What the men are referring to as a “government mission” is anyone’s guess. The State Department said they had no covert operations in the city. But then, that’s standard with covert operations.