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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Haitian police arrest 5 Americans who claimed they were on a ‘government mission’

    Haitian police arrest five Americans who claimed they were on a ‘government mission’


    BY JACQUELINE CHARLES

    FEBRUARY 18, 2019 06:37 PM,
    UPDATED 35 MINUTES AGO


    PORT-AU-PRINCE Five Americans who claimed to be on “a government mission” are facing charges of possession of illegal arms and other crimes in Haiti after being arrested by Haitian police with a cache of automatic rifles and pistols while driving in vehicles without license plates.

    In all, eight individuals, including a Russian, Serbian and Haitian national, were arrested in Port-au-Prince, Joel Casseus, the head of the Port-au-Prince police station, told the Miami Herald in an interview following the Sunday arrest at a police checkpoint.


    Some of the weapons found in cars driving around Port-au-Prince. Five Americans face weapons charges.

    While copies of the group’s U.S. passports, resident alien cards and Haitian driver’s license are circulating on WhatsApp, Haiti National Police officials say they still don’t know who the men are or why they are in Haiti, which has been rocked by violent protests since Feb. 7.

    On Monday, the country finally began to see an increase in traffic and activities in the capital and other major cities after protests and violence forced the closure of schools and businesses for nine consecutive days.

    A protest called for by the opposition did not materialize, and another one organized by university students was broken up by police.


    Protesters and the opposition are calling for the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse over mismanagement of the economy and corruption allegations centered around Venezuela’s PetroCaribe oil-discount program. Haiti owes the South American country about $2 billion and Haitians have been demanding an accounting of the money, which was supposed to be invested in social programs for the poor after the country’s 2010 earthquake.


    The U.S. Embassy was made aware of the Americans’ arrest, and its consul general visited the judicial police on Monday where the men are being detained. Asked if it had any covert operations on the ground, the embassy told the police no, according to sources familiar with the ongoing investigation.


    In a statement, a State Department official said: “We understand that the Haitian National Police detained a group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens.

    When U.S. citizens are arrested overseas we seek Consular Access as soon as possible and provide appropriate Consular assistance as provided by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Due to privacy considerations, we are unable to comment further.“


    Port-au-Prince chief of police Joel Casseus oversaw the arrest of five Americans among 8 men arrested with automatic weapons and satellite phones on Sunday.
    Carl Juste cjuste@miamiherald.com



    Casseus said when one of his units first stopped the vehicles, the men refused to present their identification or explain why they were heavily armed and traveling in a Toyota Prado and Ford Pickup without plates. Five plates were later found in the vehicles.

    It was the lack of tags on the vehicles that raised police suspicion, he said, noting that three other police units were also called to the scene, about a block from the central bank in downtown Port-au-Prince, to assist.


    “This is something that unfolded over a two-hour, two-and-a-half hour period,” Casseus said.


    Police found that the vehicles were carrying six automatic rifles, six pistols, two professional drones and three satellite phones. They also found a telescope, backpacks, gun vests, professional tapes and documents, he said.


    “There were a lot of documents,” he said. This also includes a list with names, a police source said.

    Asked what they were doing in Haiti, the men told police “they were on a mission, and they didn’t have to speak to us,” Casseus said. “They said they were on a government mission.”



    The men, he said, didn’t specify which government had hired them. But at one point, they told officers that “their boss would call our boss,” he said. Soon a third vehicle arrived with another individual, this one speaking French. He too was arrested.


    “We used professional force to show them that we are serious,” Casseus said. “We then took them to the police station.”


    Two sources have told the Herald that following the arrest, several individuals connected with the Moise administration have tried to get the men released. One even claimed that the men were there to do a security operation for the central bank. A check with the bank’s governor by police, however, revealed he was unaware of their presence.

    “They have refused to speak,” Casseus said of the men.

    “They’ve said they don’t have to speak.”


    Casseus, 46, said he doesn’t know how long the men were in town, and added their passports did not show any entry stamp for Haiti. However, their visas show they had visited several other countries prior to arriving in Haiti.


    A 24-year veteran of the police force, Casseus said the arrests represent “a moment of pride because you’re seeing that your orders are being carried out when you pass them. You feel a lot of pride and it’s encouraging.”





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    Some of the weapons found in cars driving around Port-au-Prince. Five Americans face weapons charges.

    https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nat...226440260.html
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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Published 1 hour ago

    State Department reacts to reported arrests of Americans in Haiti


    By Frank Miles | Fox News


    A man rides a bike in front of a main Haitian police station, where according to local media, a group of foreign nationals including Americans were detained, after anti-government protests, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Ivan Alvarado / REUTERS)



    The State Department responded to reports that five Americans in Haiti were arrested and held on conspiracy charges after more than a week of anti-government protests.

    “We understand that the Haitian National Police detained a group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens. When U.S. citizens are arrested overseas we seek Consular Access as soon as possible and provide appropriate Consular assistance as provided by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” a State Department spokesperson told Fox News. It did not comment further.


    Reuters
    reported that a group of foreign nationals including armed Americans were arrested. Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste reported that police found rifles, pistols, drones and satellite phones in the group’s vehicle, according to Reuters.


    The arrests come after more than a week of violent demonstrations by tens of thousands of protesters demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise over skyrocketing prices that have more than doubled for basic goods amid allegations of government corruption.


    TRUMP DECLARES ‘SOCIALISM IS DYING’ AMID VENEZUELA ‘CATASTROPHE,’ PROMISES ‘THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO US’


    Last week, the State Department issued its highest-possible travel advisory for Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation.


    “Do not travel to Haiti due to crime and civil unrest,” the department advised Americans in its Level 4 warning. “There are currently widespread, violent, and unpredictable demonstrations in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti. ... Protests, tire burning, and road blockages are frequent and unpredictable. Violent crime, such as armed robbery, is common. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents, and emergency response, including ambulance service, is limited or non-existent.”


    Goods in Haiti have doubled in price in recent weeks: A sack of rice now costs $18 in U.S. dollars and a can of dry beans around $7. In addition, a gallon of cooking oil has gone up to nearly $11 from $7. Inflation has been in the double digits since 2014, and the price hikes are angering many people in Haiti, where about 60 percent of its nearly 10.5 million people struggle to get by on about $2 a day. A recent report by the U.S. Agency for International Development said about half the country is undernourished.


    The U.S. government urged Moise’s administration to implement economic reforms and redouble efforts to fight corruption and hold accountable those implicated in the scandal over the Venezuelan subsidized oil program, known as Petrocaribe.

    Moise has refused to step down, though his prime minister, Jean-Henry Ceant, said over the weekend that he has agreed to reduce certain government budgets by 30 percent, limit travel of government officials and remove all non-essential privileges they enjoy, including phone cards. Ceant also vowed to investigate alleged misspending tied to Petrocaribe, and said he has requested that a court audit all state-owned enterprises.

    He also said he would increase the minimum wage and lower the prices of basic goods, although he did not provide specifics.

    https://www.foxnews.com/world/state-...arrested-haiti

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  3. #3
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Haiti arrests: US confirms Americans among group detained


    • 4 hours ago


    AFP Image caption
    Police on guard in Port-au-Prince amid protests against the president


    The US state department says it understands that a number of Americans are among a group arrested in Haiti.

    Local media reported semi-automatic weapons had been found but this has not been officially confirmed.

    The circumstances remain unclear but local authorities told CNN the Americans were being held on conspiracy charges, but are not yet indicted.

    The arrests come amid nearly two weeks of protests against President Jovenel Moïse.


    The reason for the group's presence in the country also remains unclear and no identities are yet confirmed.

    Haiti's police did not respond when called by the BBC.

    But Inspector Gary Desroisiers, a deputy spokesperson for the national police, told news agency Haiti Libre the group had "refused to speak".


    The group, said to have eight members, was detained in the country's capital, Port-au-Prince, on Sunday.




    Local media reported that the members of the group were driving two vehicles without registration plates and were arrested at the Rue des Cesars.


    A police source told Le Nouvelliste newspaper that the men had said they were working for the Haitian government.


    Haiti Foreign Minister Bocchit Edmond told CNN that five American citizens and a Haitian national were among those arrested.


    The state department would not confirm any numbers.


    Local media report that a Serbian citizen and a Russian was also part of the group.


    Since 7 February, thousands of people have been protesting in Haiti over soaring inflation and allegations of government corruption.


    Opposition groups are demanding an investigation over claims that officials and former ministers misappropriated development funds from an oil deal signed between Caribbean countries and Venezuela.

    Demonstrators have demanded the resignation of President Moise, in power since 2017.

    Last week he rejected the calls, saying he would not leave the country in the "hands of armed gangs and drug traffickers".


    Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas and 60% of the population live on less than $2 (£1.56) a day, according to the World Bank.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-47283571

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  4. #4
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    . . . Aside from that, a video purportedly showing the detained individuals – vigorously covering their faces – at a police station has circulated online. The newspaper also revealed the alleged identities of the suspects, naming them as Kroeker Kent Leland, Danilo Bajavic, Vlad Jankovic, Burton Talon, Christopher Osman M, Daniel Dustin and Estera Michael.



    HaitiInfoProject @HaitiInfoProj


    Video of 7 US citizens and a Haitian being held at main police station in downtown PAP, #Haiti.

    They were detained after a cache of automatic weapons, communications equipment and several license plates were found in their vehicles. Why they were stopped is unknown.

    320

    9:08 PM - Feb 17, 2019

    451 people are talking about this


    Five of them have been confirmed to be Americans. The State Department said it was aware that Haitian police arrested a “group that included US citizens.” The men are being held on conspiracy charges, but have not been formally charged yet, according to CNN. Another one of the team is a Haitian citizen, while two others are of Serbian and Russian origins, according to Haitian media reports.

    One of their reported identities is particularly interesting –
    Kroeker Kent Leland, who is Partner and Chief Operations Officer of the Kroeker Partners private security company. Kroeker is a former US Marine officer, with “a rich career in military, business enterprise and crisis management operations,” as the company's website modestly puts it.

    https://www.rt.com/news/451787-haiti...zens-arrested/
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  5. #5
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Why were former members of the U.S. military driving around Haiti heavily armed?


    BY JACQUELINE CHARLES AND MONIKA LEAL
    FEBRUARY 19, 2019 07:49 PM,
    UPDATED 3 HOURS 34 MINUTES AGO


    Haitian police say they found these weapons in the cars of several men driving around Port-au-Prince without license plates. Among those arrested were five Americans.


    PORT-AU-PRINCE Three are former U.S. military and a fourth once worked as a federal contractor for the U.S. government.

    But what may have brought them to Haiti and put them together on a Port-au-Prince street remained a mystery Tuesday as Haitian police continued their investigation into the arrest of eight heavily armed men, including five Americans.


    Christopher Michael Osman, Kent Leland Kroeker and Christopher Mark McKinley are all veterans, and are among the five Americans police arrested on Sunday afternoon, about a block from the country’s central bank in downtown Port-au-Prince.

    Riding in two vehicles, a Toyota Prado and Ford Pickup, without license plates, they were stopped at a police checkpoint and questioned.


    Inside their vehicles: six automatic rifles, six pistols, two professional drones and three satellite phones, police told the Miami Herald.

    https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nat...226475635.html

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