The plot to assassinate Haitian President Jovenel Moïse ran through South Florida, according to statements of captured Colombians who said they were hired by a Miami-area security firm.
Seventeen Colombians and two Haitian Americans from South Florida are in custody in Haiti. A person who interviewed the detained Colombians in Haiti said the men claimed to have been recruited by an under-the-radar firm in Doral called CTU Security It is run by a Venezuelan émigré, Antonio Enmanuel Intriago Valera.
The Miami Herald visited the company’s offices on Thursday, where a doorbell rang to a phone, and a man presumed to be Intriago declined to discuss the events in Haiti. He did not return phone calls, texts or emails asking about reports of involvement in the monumental developments gripping Haiti. No one answered on Saturday.
Multiple sources have confirmed to the Herald that the detained men said they were hired by CTU, and several of them indicated they had been in Haiti for at least three months, some longer.
The men were hired to provide VIP security, one source said, and were paid about $3,000 a month. The two Haitian Americans — James Solages, 35, and Vincent Joseph, 55 — told a judge that they were hired as translators but did not reveal who their employer was, Judge Clément Noël told the Miami Herald.
Those versions square with what family members of captured Colombians are now saying.
The Colombian station W Radio featured an interview Friday with the wife of captured security man Francisco Uribe, who said he’d been hired by CTU and paid $2,700 and provided travel to the Dominican Republic to work as private security for powerful families. (The Washington Post reported Saturday that Uribe has been under investigation for extrajudicial killings when he was a Colombian soldier.)
On Saturday, W Radio interviewed Yenni Capador, sister of another Colombian, Duberney Capador Giraldo, who retired from the army in 2019 and was killed this past week in Haiti.
The “hypothesis we are all working is that it went wrong and they are unjustly accused of something that my brother did not do,” she told the media outlet. “He lived with his mother and we know he was hired to work with a security company.”
Intriago’s CTU is formally registered as the Counter Terrorist Unit Federal Academy LLC, and was incorporated in Florida in 2019, under his name, and it has filed annual reports in the two successive years. It lists a member named Arcangel Pretel Ortiz, who had run a now-defunct security firm of his own called Taktical Consulting Corp.
Florida licensing records show Intriago is authorized by the state to provide security services and to carry a firearm. He has little other footprint in public records except for a detainer filed against him in 2011.
Intriago has a website that shows him as a wholesaler and retailer of security equipment.
“As a representative for big and important security and safety device manufacturers around the world our objective is to offer first-class personalized products and services to law enforcement and military units, as well as industrial customers,” the company says in its About Us section.
Known in Venezuelan expat circles in South Florida, Intriago would boast of his police background in the South American country. At times, said one who knew him but did not want to be identified in the widening story, Intriago claimed to have connections to or to have worked directly for U.S. agencies.
A person claiming to have known him back in Venezuela said Intriago worked out of a small Doral office, where he would boast of being a paid mercenary and a coordinator of special forces, but most people did not take those claims seriously.
The source, who demanded anonymity to speak freely, said that Intriago is also known for providing firearms, firearms parts, and military and police equipment such as bulletproof vests.
Public records show him at a small, fenced three-bedroom residence a few blocks off of I-95 near Miami Northwestern High. Venezuela’s voter database shows he remains registered to vote there through the consulate in Miami.
Intriago’s Facebook page provides a bit of a timeline. Showing him appearing to arrive in the United States around 2009 and working initially with alarm systems. His social media presence is largely apolitical except for some postings against the Venezuelan government and one in support of Juan Guaidó, the Venezuelan lawmaker the Trump administration recognized as the oil-rich country’s legitimate leader.
Intriago’s security firm has a limited social media presence and does not appear to have won any federal contracts to provide security or training. His personal Facebook page shows that he offers personal security classes at night for people wanting to protect their families and pitches he services occasionally in posts.
There is nothing in Intriago’s public footprint to indicate that he had either the money or the scope to train dozens of private soldiers to raid the private residence of the Haitian president and kill him.
What role Miami and Intriago played directly, or inadvertently, in the Haitian assassination will surely be investigated with the FBI. Haiti has asked for FBI help, in part given the large number of businessmen and drug gangs who might have had an interest in getting rid of the president.
A team from Colombia is already in Port-au-Prince, dispatched on Friday to collaborate with the Haitian government on how the Colombians became involved in the assassination.
Miami and the Doral enclave have become sort of a Star Wars bar for would-be liberators and for-hire warriors.
A botched coup in May 2020 in Venezuela similarly involved for-hire security men in Florida and some of the plotting traced to the 12th fairway of the Red Course at the Doral resort.
Monika Leal contributed to this report.