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A convicted drug trafficker and former DEA informant who had been in hiding since the brazen middle-of-the-night assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse on July 7 has been apprehended in the Dominican Republic, a Haitian official with knowledge of the arrest confirmed to the Miami Herald.
Rodolphe Jaar, also known as “Dodof,” was arrested Friday in Santo Domingo by Dominican authorities after crossing into the neighboring country from Haiti. He had spent months in hiding in Haiti, several sources confirmed to the Herald.
Jarr’s arrest came six months to the day that an alleged hit squad made up of Colombian commandos, Haitian police officers and others piled into vehicles from Jaar’s home in a nearby Petionville neighborhood, and drove across the street to the president’s Pelerin 5 neighborhood. The two neighborhoods are separated by a narrow two-lane road in the hills above Port-au-Prince.
Using drones and hand grenades while yelling they were part of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration operation, the group, separated into four teams, stormed the hillside residence. Moïse was later found dead inside his bedroom, shot 12 times, according to an autopsy report. His wife, Martine, was shot several times but survived.
Though Haitian authorities initially arrested 44 individuals for the crime, including 18 former members of the Colombian military who were recruited to come to Haiti, none have been charged and none presumably has the financial means to support such an expensive operation. That has led to the focus on individuals like Jaar, who had a poultry business in Haiti after a 2013 U.S. drug conviction.
A 124-page Haiti National Police report obtained by the Miami Herald describes Jaar as being a central player in the assassination plot, housing the Colombians, vehicles and weapons at his home days ahead of the attack. The report also states that Jaar had been in contact with a Cinéus Francis Alexis, whose cellphone was transmitting from Pétionville at 2:04 a.m. on the night of the attack and later in the vicinity of the National Palace.
Alexis and Jaar had exchanged 203 phone calls between May and June, police said.
A month before the assassination, Jaar was allegedly among a group of men, including two South Floridians, who showed up at a bizarre meeting to discuss an elaborate U.S. government plan to bust drug trafficking Haitian government officials using FBI and DEA agents. Under the plan, the group said 34 Haitian businessmen and government officials involved in drug trafficking and money laundering would be arrested. The plan was bogus but helped foreshadow Moïse’s death. Almost everyone who attended the meeting is either being held by Haitian authorities or sought by them.
Jaar is the third fugitive in the assassination plot to be apprehended since October, and like the previous two — retired Colombian sergeant Mario Antonio Palacios Palacios and Haitian-Palestinian businessman Samir Handal — his arrest will now become the subject of an extradition fight. As was the case with Jamaica, where Palacios was detained in October after being tracked by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and FBI agents, Haiti and the Dominican Republic do not have an extradition agreement.
Handal, who was detained in Istanbul in November after arriving on a Turkish Airlines flight from Miami, remains in Turkey, where he is fighting extradition to Haiti.
Palacios, 43, and the other Colombian commandos had been recruited to provide security in Haiti by a Miami-area security firm, Counter Terrorism Unit, or CTU.
Palacios was ordered deported from Jamaica by a judge and was on his way to his native Colombia on Monday when he had a layover in Panama and was detained by authorities in the Central American country on an INTERPOL arrest warrant. He was soon informed that he had an arrest warrant in the United States, and, according to the US. Department of Justice, agreed to board a flight to Miami.
Upon arrival in Miami, Palacios was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder or kidnap outside the United States, and providing material support resulting in death knowing that such support would be used to carry out a plot to kill the Haitian president. He is the first suspect to be formally charged in connection with Moïse’s slaying.
Jaar was among at least seven individuals Haiti National Police had issued wanted posters for. Among the others who remain on the run: Alexis; Ashkard Pierre, a former diplomat; former Haitian Senator Jean Joël Joseph, whose name on travel records is written as Joseph Joël John, and Joseph Felix Badio, a former consultant in the Haitian Ministry of Justice and a functionary in the government’s anti-corruption unit .
For more than a decade, Jaar had been a major Haitian drug trafficker, smuggling at least seven tons of Colombian cocaine into Haiti, between 1998 and 2012, according to U.S. court records. Most of the drugs were destined for the U.S.
After a drug arrest, he became a DEA informant but double-crossed the agency when he secretly stole part of a 420-kilo cocaine load in 2012 while tipping off federal agents about the deal so they could seize the rest and go after his co-conspirators. He later pleaded guilty to stealing the load, worth about $1 million, and was sentenced in. 2013. He was released in 2016 and deported to Haiti, where he remained low key until his name resurfaced in the assassination investigation.