PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A former justice official considered one of the main suspects in the killing of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in 2021 was arrested Thursday in Haiti’s capital after being on the run for more than two years, police said.
Joseph Badio once worked for Haiti’s Ministry of Justice and at the government’s anti-corruption unit until he was fired for alleged ethics violations weeks before the assassination.
Badio was arrested in the neighborhood of Petion Vile in Port-au-Prince, National Police spokesman Garry Desrosiers said.
Moïse was shot 12 times at his private home in July 7, 2021, sending Haiti into a political crisis.
Several people had been arrested after Moïse assassination, including 11 men now in U.S. custody. Prosecutors in the U.S. have alleged that there was a broad plot among conspirators in both Haiti and Florida to hire mercenaries to remove Moïse and benefit from contracts from a successor administration.
Last week, former Haitian senator John Joel Joseph — one of the 11 men in custody in the U.S. — pleaded guilty to charges related to the assassination. A federal judge set his sentencing for Dec. 19.
The former senator was extradited from Jamaica to the U.S. in June accused of conspiring to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States and providing material support resulting in death.
Two other people also have pleaded guilty. Haitian-Chilean businessman Rodolphe Jaar was sentenced in June to life in prison. The sentencing for former Colombian soldier German Alejandro Rivera Garcia is set for Oct. 27.
Among the people arrested after the killing are 18 former Colombian soldiers who are in custody in Haiti.
Since the assassination, the Caribbean country has also experienced a surge of gang violence that led the prime minister to request the deployment of an armed force. The U.N. Security Council finally voted on early October to send a multinational force led by Kenya to help fight the gangs.
Kenya has not set a date for the deployment.