5 Heavily Armed US Citizens Arrested by Haitian Police Amid Protests (+Video)
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A group of seven foreigners among them 5 US individuals with military backgrounds and one local armed with semi-automatic weapons, were arrested by Haitian police amid violent unrest in the nation.
Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste reported that the suspects have military backgrounds and were equipped with an arsenal of guns and even drones as well as satellite phones in their two vehicles, according to Reuters.
Other media said several of the men were US citizens, one was Serbian and another from Russia.
The suspects had several sets of plates with them, but it was unclear if they were genuine or fake. The individuals initially refused to leave their vehicles, reportedly claiming they had been working “for the Haitian government.”
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, RT reports.
Five of them have been confirmed to be Americans. The US 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.
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. Several other suspects’ names also corresponded to social media profiles of “US citizens claiming military background,” Reuters reports.
The US State Department last week ordered the departure of all non-emergency personnel and their families from Haiti, and advised US citizens not to travel there.