By Evan Perez, CNN Justice Correspondent- CNN.COM
Haiti President Jovenel Moise in October 2019.
(CNN)Several of the men involved in the operation that killed Haiti’s president previously worked as US law enforcement informants, according to people briefed on the matter, as US investigators grapple with an increasing number of Florida links to the alleged hit squad.
At least one of the men arrested by Haitian authorities previously worked as an informant for the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the DEA said in a statement in response to CNN.
“At times, one of the suspects in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was a confidential source to the DEA,” the DEA said in a statement.
“Following the assassination of President Moïse, the suspect reached out to his contacts at the DEA. A DEA official assigned to Haiti urged the suspect to surrender to local authorities and, along with a U.S. State Department official, provided information to the Haitian government that assisted in the surrender and arrest of the suspect and one other individual,” the DEA said.
The DEA said it is aware of reports that some assassins yelled “DEA” at the time of their attack. The DEA said in its statement that none of the attackers were operating on behalf of the agency.
Others also had US ties, including working as informants for the FBI, the people briefed on the matter said. The FBI said in response to CNN’s reporting that it doesn’t comment on informants, except to say that it uses “lawful sources to collect intelligence” as part of its investigations.
Moise was killed Wednesday in an operation that Haitian authorities say involved at least 28 people, many of them Colombian mercenaries hired through a Florida-based security company.
Authorities on Monday announced the arrest of a suspect who they say orchestrated the assassination. Christian Emmanuel Sanon, 63, entered the country on a private jet in June, Police Chief Leon Charles said at a news conference.
Haitian authorities say that Sanon hired Florida-based CTU Security, which they alleged recruited men initially to provide security for Sanon, though their mission appears to have changed thereafter.
It’s not clear that the men who worked as US law enforcement informants wittingly participated in the assassination plot or were aware of the mission, the people briefed on the matter said.
CNN has not been able to reach Sanon or his representatives for comment since his arrest.
Haitian authorities have provided limited details on the investigation, but the growing number of Florida connections to the plot appears to portray an operation at least partly hatched in the United States.
That may increase the likelihood that the US Justice Department could bring charges against any US participants in the plot. Haitian authorities have said three US citizens are under arrest for their involvement in the assassination.
CNN’s Caitlin Hu, Mitchell McCluskey and Jessie Yeung contributed to this report.