“The fact that the U.S. took these people and did not charge them, it shows there was a conspiracy. They didn’t want them to go before Haitian justice.” — Pierre Esperance, National Human Rights Defense Network
PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI — Earlier this week, MintPress News reported that a number of suspected American mercenaries were arrested transporting a cache of assault rifles and other weapons in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince amid an uprising against government corruption.
As MintPress noted at the time, many Haitians believed that the men were part of a team of mercenaries hired by Haitian President Joven Moise. One of the men, Chris Osman, wrote on Instagram on Friday that they were operating “for people who are directly connected to the current President”
Osman was among five Americans, two Serbs, and one Haitian arrested by Haitian authorities. He is a former Navy SEAL and another one of the men, Christopher McKinley, was also a SEAL. Kent Kroeker, another one of those arrested, was a Marine Corps pilot, and Talon Burton is a former U.S. Army military policeman, State Department security guard, and Blackwater operative.
The remaining American, Dustin Porte, is a private security contractor and president of an electrical contracting company called Patriot Group Services, which has a $16,000 subcontract with the Department of Homeland Security.
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. pic.twitter.com/YvCxaULWIo
— HaitiInfoProject ? (@HaitiInfoProj) February 18, 2019
After the men were arrested, Haitian Minister of Justice Jean Roody Aly authorized the extradition of the Americans to face trial in the United States, according to a letter from Aly obtained by the Miami Herald. But upon their arrival in Miami, it became clear that they would not face charges in the U.S. Federal sources confirmed as much to the Herald.
“The fact that the U.S. took these people and did not charge them, it shows there was a conspiracy. They didn’t want them to go before Haitian justice,” Pierre Esperance, who runs the National Human Rights Defense Network in Haiti, told the Herald.
On Thursday, Haiti’s Senate ordered the government security council to answer questions about the incident. The council is headed by Prime Minister Jean Henry Céant. According to a senator who spoke with him, the men planned to break into the central bank and then assassinate Céant.
U.S. authorities initially intervened after Céant told CNN that the group were “mercenaries” and “terrorists,” securing the group’s release before their court appearances.'
Read more: How America Rescued Its Weapons Runners After Their Arrest in Haiti