PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI- Efforts are underway to have Jamaica extradite Colombian Mario Antonio Palacios-Palaciosto the United States to answer to gun charges.
Ex-Colombian army officer Palacios is suspected of the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise and is wanted by Colombian and Haitian authorities.
The suspect was arrested on October 11 in Jamaica and found guilty of illegal entry. The court fined him $8000 or five days in jail and ordered his deportation.
Local authorities found out before the eviction order was executed that Palacios allegedly was linked to the murder of Moise on July 7, when the mercenary attackers beat and shot him multiple times inside his house, allegedly by 28 mercenaries, 26 of whom were Colombians.
As a result, Jamaica, Colombia, and Haiti have been at odds over who should get custody of the alleged mercenary.
Considering that neither Jamaica nor either of the two countries has extradition treaties, Colombian authorities say Palacios should be sent back to Colombia, while Haitian authorities insist Palacios be extradited to Port-au-Prince, where a wanted bulletin has been issued for him, according to which he traveled to the country at least one day before the assassination.
In a letter to Jamaica and Colombia, Haiti’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Claude Joseph, requested that Palacios be sent to Haiti.
Joseph reportedly sought mutual legal assistance to progress the investigation into the assassination of Moïse.
In the last month, Jamaican government officials confirmed that Colombia and Haiti had submitted paperwork seeking custody of Palacios. However, no decision had been made on whether Palacios would be deported or extradited to either country.
A twist emerged last week when sources indicated that Palacios, who has remained in a maximum security facility, would be most likely sent to the United States.
“There has been the sharing of diplomatic notes from Haiti and Colombia requesting that Palacios be turned over to them but a formal extradition request has now come from the US and it seems he could be on his way to that country in short order,” a Government source said.
The source said that extraditing Palacios to the US would have fewer diplomatic ramifications than having Jamaica choose between Haiti or Colombia.
The Jamaican Government is expected to make an official announcement this week.