A Haitian doctor who has been a fixture in Florida for more than two decades has been arrested in Haiti under suspicion that he was one of the leaders behind the middle-of-the-night assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last week, sources familiar with the investigation told the Miami Herald.
Christian Emmanuel Sanon’s name has been cited by several of the people who are in custody in the case, the Herald learned, leading the national police to arrest him as part of the ongoing investigation into the leadership of the group of 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans suspected of carrying out the assassination.
Police have also put several presidential security guards under house arrest.
Sanon’s arrest makes him the third person of Haitian descent who has been arrested in the killing. James Solages, 35, and Joseph G. Vincent, 55, Haitian Americans from South Florida, are also in police custody after turning themselves in hours after the killing.
The two Haitian Americans, who are among 19 individuals in police custody, told Haitian officials during questioning that their mission was not to kill the president but to serve a 2019 arrest warrant against him that had been issued by a Haitian investigative judge and to take him to the presidential palace. There, they would install Sanon as president, a source who spoke with the two men told the Herald.
On Saturday, Haiti National Police Chief Leon Charles alluded to Sanon in a Herald interview, though he did not name him. He said that the suspects, including the two Haitian Americans, confirmed that they worked for a company “based in the U.S. and Colombia…. [which] worked with the two Haitian Americans and a high-profile doctor here.”
The company is Miami-based CTU Security, registered in Florida as the Counter Terrorist Unit Federal Academy LLC.
“I would say that the Haitian [doctor] recruited CTU and CTU recruited the Colombians. That’s the pattern,” Charles said.
Sanon’s arrest comes as Haitian police, working with Colombian law enforcement, try to piece together the events leading to the death of Moïse, who was shot 12 times in the upstairs bedroom of his home around 1 a.m. Wednesday.
Among the unanswered questions: How Sanon, who once filed for bankruptcy, could be behind a costly conspiracy. Some of the people arrested said that they were paid $3,000 a month and had been living in Haiti since January.
Sanon has been living on and off in Florida for more than 20 years, from the Tampa Bay area to South Florida. Public records show that he has had more than a dozen businesses registered in the state, but most of them are inactive. They ranged from medical services to an energy company to real estate.
While he refers to himself as a doctor, there is no medical license for him listed in Florida, where he filed a federal bankruptcy case in Tampa in 2013. Court records refer to him as a doctor who works in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. A YouTube video championing his work says he studied medicine in the Dominican Republic.
In his bankruptcy filing, Sanon also listed himself as church pastor at the Tabarre Evangelical Tabernacle, as president of a non-government organization called Organization Rome Haiti, and as president of Radio-Tele Vasco — all in Tabarre, Haiti.
Sanon had a home in Brandon, near Tampa, which he lost in a foreclosure before filing for bankruptcy. At the time, he said he had more than $140,000 in equity in the home. According to bankruptcy records, he was making an annual salary of $60,000 and had debts totaling more than $400,000. During the bankruptcy, Sanon switched his address from Brandon to Hollywood, then to Boynton Beach.
Other court records show that Sanon had been living in Margate, in Broward County, as far back as 1998, when he got a ticket for a traffic violation.
A video shared on YouTube describes Sanon as one of the leaders needed to represent the Haitian people, and that he has the support of more than 200 companies to foster the industrial development and socio-economic recovery of Haiti.
According to the video, Sanon was born in Jacmel in 1956 and studied biology in New York before studying in the Dominican Republic.
Miami Herald reporter Daniel Chang and McClatchy Washington Bureau reporter Kevin G. Hall contributed to this report.