US citizens arrested over Haitian President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination say they were just translators for hit squad, judge says

James Solages sits on the floor alongside five other suspects in the killing of Haitian president Jovenel Moïse.
James Solages, left, is a Haitian-American who is a suspect in the killing of Haitian president Jovenel Moïse

  • Two US citizens arrested over the killing of Haiti’s president said they worked as translators for the hit squad.
  • One of the Americans said he found an online job listing to serve as a translator.
  • At least 15 people have been detained over the assassination so far.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Two Americans arrested in connection with the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse said they only served as translators for the hit squad and weren’t actually in the room when the killing took place, Haitian Judge Clément Noël said on Friday, per the New York Times.

The two US citizens have been identified as James J. Solages, 35, and Joseph Vincent, 55. Both are from Florida. Solages said he found a job listing to translate for the hid squad online.

The motive for the assassination, which has left experts “dumbfounded,” remains unclear. Haitian police said that the. killing was carried out by 26 Colombian and two Haitian-American (Solages and Vincent) mercenaries, per Reuters. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies in both Colombia and the US are now investigating links to the killing in light of the arrests of nationals from their countries.

“The United States remains engaged and in close consultations with our Haitian and international partners to support the Haitian people in the aftermath of the assassination of the president,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing on Friday.

Moïse was killed in his private residence early on Wednesday. His assassination came amid escalating political turmoil and violence in Haiti, which is considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Haitian authorities have said the assailants posed as US Drug Enforcement Agency agents before entering Moïse’s home. Noël, who is investigating the assassination, said Solages at the start of the attack on the president’s home said via a loudspeaker that they were with the DEA, the Times reported. The Americans said the operation was planned for at least a month, Noël said, and that the ultimate goal was not to kill Moïse but to take him .

Fifteen suspects have been detained so far, and four were killed in a firefight with police.

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