Christian Emmanuel Sanon is a Haitian man who is suspected of playing a leading role in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Authorities said Sunday they have arrested Sanon.

Police said Sanon planned to assume the presidency and hire some of the men as his security team. Sanon is reportedly a doctor with long-standing ties to Florida.


He is 63 years old.

Jovenel Moïse Murder

Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his home July 7 by a group of unidentified gunmen who also left his wife wounded, interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph announced — calling it a “hateful, inhumane and barbaric act” as he imposed a “state of siege” on the nation.

“An unidentified group of individuals, some of whom were speaking in Spanish, attacked the private residence of the President of the Republic and mortally wounded him,” Joseph said in a statement, adding that the assailants were armed with “high-caliber weapons.”

The primary languages in the impoverished Caribbean nation of more than 11 million people, some 675 miles southeast of Miami, are French and Haitian Creole.

Joseph said he was now in charge of the country.

The gunmen claimed to be agents with the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Miami Herald reported.

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But sources told the paper that the assailants, one of whom spoke English with an American accent, were not with the American agency.

“These were mercenaries,” a high-ranking Haitian government official told the Herald.

In his statement, Joseph said first lady Martine Moïse, 47, “was wounded by a bullet, and the necessary measures are being taken.”

Christian Emmanuel Sanon Arrested

The announcement of his arrest came as senior FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials arrived in Haiti Sunday to discuss how the United States might assist after Moïse’s killing last week.

National Police Chief Léon Charles said Sanon landed in Haiti on a private plane in early June with “political objectives” and recruited a team through a Venezuelan security firm based in the United States. The team’s mission changed when one member was presented with an arrest warrant for Moïse.


Haitian officials have described the assailants as a hit squad of 28 people, including former Colombian soldiers and their two Haitian American interpreters.

The Miami Herald identified Sanon as a longtime doctor in Florida who has registered more than a dozen businesses in the state. Police said two other people had been implicated in the alleged scheme as “intellectual authors” of the assassination but did not name them. Police last week arrested two Haitian Americans who allegedly worked as translators for the team; they have now taken at least 21 people into custody, most of them Colombians.

A U.S. government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter, expressed doubt about the authenticity of the recording of the first lady.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of escalating the violence, said he worried about the days leading up to the president’s funeral, which has yet to be scheduled.

“At this moment, we’re trying to keep the country calm,” he said.

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