A dual Haitian-Chilean citizen was arrested yesterday based on criminal charges related to his alleged involvement in the assassination of the former President of Haiti, Jovenel Moise, on July 7, 2021.
Rodolphe Jaar, 49, is charged with conspiring to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States and 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. Jaar is the second individual to be charged and arrested in the United States for his role in the assassination plot.
As alleged in the complaint, which was unsealed yesterday, the defendant and others — including a group of approximately 20 Colombian citizens and a number of dual Haitian-American citizens — participated in a plot to kidnap or kill the Haitian President. In particular, as alleged, Jaar was present when another conspirator (“Co-conspirator #1”) secured the signature of a former Haitian judge on a written request for assistance to further the arrest and imprisonment of President Moise. According to the complaint, on June 28, 2021, Co-conspirator #1, a dual Haitian-American citizen traveled from Haiti to the United States in furtherance of the conspiracy and provided other individuals with the document, and flew from Florida back to Haiti on July 1, 2021, to participate in the operation against the president.
As alleged in the complaint, while the plot initially focused on conducting a kidnapping of the Haitian President as part of a purported arrest operation, it ultimately resulted in a plot to kill the president. The complaint alleges that on July 7, 2021, various co-conspirators entered President Moise’s residence in Haiti with the intent and purpose of killing him, and in fact the president was killed.
As alleged in the complaint, Jaar was responsible for providing weapons to the Colombian co-conspirators to facilitate carrying out the operation; several of the Colombian co-conspirators also stayed at a residence controlled by Jaar. After the assassination, Jaar allegedly communicated with Co-conspirator #1 and others to assist the Colombians and Co-conspirator #1 while they were in hiding from Haitian authorities.
Co-conspirator #1 was subsequently arrested by Haitian authorities and remains in custody in Haiti. Jaar was arrested in the Dominican Republic and agreed to travel to the United States. He is currently in custody and will appear at 1:30 p.m. ET today in Miami before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lauren Louisin of the Southern District of Florida for his initial appearance.
If convicted of the charges in the complaint, Jaar faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Anthony Salisbury of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Miami Office made the announcement.
The FBI and HSI are investigating the case with other law enforcement partners.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrea Goldbarg and Walter Norkin for the Southern District of Florida are prosecuting the case, with assistance from National Security Division Trial Attorneys Frank Russo, Jessica Fender and Emma Ellenrieder. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided valuable assistance. Dominican authorities provided significant assistance in securing the return of Jaar to the United States.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.