A Colombian national was arrested based on a federal criminal complaint filed in Florida, officials stated.

Mario Antonio Palacios, 43, is charged with conspiracy to commit murder or kidnapping outside the U.S., according to federal officials.

He is also charged with allegedly 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.

Mario Antonio Palacios

As alleged in the complaint, which was unsealed today, these charges relate to the July 7, 2021, assassination of the former President of Haiti, Jovenel Moise, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

As alleged, the defendant and others, including a group of approximately 20 other Colombian citizens and a group of Haiti-based dual Haitian-American citizens, participated in a plot to kidnap or kill the Haitian President, with one conspirator (“Co-conspirator #1”) traveling to the United States on June 28, 2021.

He allegedly provided other individuals with a written request for assistance to further the plot relating to the Haitian President

A person holds a photo of late Haitian President Jovenel Moise, who was shot dead earlier this month, during his funeral at his family home in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, July 23, 2021. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

As alleged in the complaint, while the plot initially focused on conducting a kidnapping of the president as part of a purported arrest operation, it ultimately resulted in a plot to kill the Haitian President.

The complaint affidavit alleges that, on July 7, 2021, Palacios and others entered the president’s residence in Haiti with the intent and purpose of killing President Moise, and in fact the president was killed.

Co-conspirator #1, a dual Haitian-American citizen, was subsequently arrested by Haitian authorities and remains in custody in Haiti. Palacios eluded arrest and traveled to Jamaica, according to authorities.

Palacios was recently deported from Jamaica and, during a layover in Panama, agreed to travel to the United States. He is currently in custody and will appear in court for his initial appearance later today.

Palacios is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

If convicted of the charges in the complaint, Palacios is facing up to life in prison.

The FBI is investigating the case with other law enforcement partners, including Homeland Security Investigations, officials stated.

By Raul

Raul Hernandez is a former journalist. He has worked as a newspaper reporter for more than 30 years at the El Paso Herald-Post, El Paso Times, Press Enterprise in Riverside, California and the Ventura County Star in California. He was a court reporter for more than 20 years.

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