Police in Haiti arrested a group of men this week who claimed they were on a “government mission” after being discovered with a stockpile of weapons and gear, and among the group are four U.S. veterans, including Navy SEALs.
All five Americans were flown back to the U.S. in a coordinated effort between U.S. and Haiti officials, Task & Purpose first reported Thursday.
Upon landing in Miami, the men were escorted off the plane by U.S. law enforcement officers.
Here is a video clip:
Here’s a clip.pic.twitter.com/2KDKOVfrMf
— carel pedre (@carelpedre) February 21, 2019
Here is video of the men being escorted to their plane in Haiti:
It’s confirmed, here’s video of mercenaries captured in #Haiti being escorted to their plane (without handcuffs) by US Emb. personnel. Local press being told they will be debriefed by FBI upon arrival. Haiti protests leaders vowing to continue pressure to force #PHTK from power. pic.twitter.com/T2dcRl2fFb
— HaitiInfoProject 📡 (@HaitiInfoProj) February 20, 2019
The men reportedly won’t face charges for the alleged wrongdoing, but were debriefed upon returning to U.S. soil, a federal source told the Miami Herald.
On Sunday, Port-au-Prince police confronted two vehicles without license plates stopped at a police checkpoint, and later revealed eight men with a slew of weapons and other gear, the Miami Herald had reported.
Five of the eight men were identified to be Americans who allegedly told Haitian police that they were conducting “a government mission.” They were accompanied by a Haitian man and two Serbian men.
— Paul Szoldra (@PaulSzoldra) February 20, 2019
An NPR report later first revealed the names of the Americans: Christopher Michael Osman, a former Navy SEAL; Kent Leland Kroeker, a Marine Corps veteran; Christopher Mark McKinley, also a former SEAL; Dustin Porte, a security contractor and president of Patriot Group Services, Inc., in Louisiana; and Talon Ray Burton, an Army veteran and State Department security guard, according to T&P. Two of the men are former Navy SEALs, one is a Marine Corps veteran, another is an Army veteran, and the last is a Department of Homeland Security contractor.
Port-au-Prince Police Chief Joel Casseus told the Miami Herald that police were alerted to the two vehicles upon discovering they had no license plates.
What followed included a two-hour ordeal involving the alleged discovery of six automatic rifles, six pistols, two professional drones and three satellite phones, and also backpacks, gun vests, professional tapes and documents, authorities said.
Here are pics of weapons and gear found in their possession: pic.twitter.com/fN68czxJ8I
— HaitiInfoProject 📡 (@HaitiInfoProj) February 18, 2019
“There were a lot of documents,” Casseus said. Among the documents were lists of names.
The men reportedly insisted they were on a mission, but they did not specify which government had ordered the supposed mission. The men also allegedly attempted to intimidate police by warning that “their boss would call our boss.”
“We used professional force to show them that we are serious,” Casseus said. “We then took them to the police station.”
The U.S. Embassy was contacted after the men’s arrest, and reportedly told police that no covert missions were taking place in the country.
In a statement, a U.S. State Department official said, “We understand that the Haitian National Police detained a group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens. When U.S. citizens are arrested overseas we seek Consular Access as soon as possible and provide appropriate Consular Assistance as provided by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Due to privacy considerations, we are unable to comment further.”
Haiti has been hit by anti-government protests for the past two weeks over corruption in the government that caused the misuse of billions of dollars that were intended for social programs. Haitians have called for the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.
Last week, the U.S. State Department released a travel advisory for Haiti of the maximum level of warning: “Do not travel.”
“Do not travel to Haiti due to crime and civil unrest,” the advisory said. “There are currently widespread, violent, and unpredictable demonstrations in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti. … Protests, tire burning, and road blockages are frequent and unpredictable. Violent crime, such as armed robbery, is common. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents, and emergency response, including ambulance service, is limited or non-existent.”