U.S. prosecutors in Miami have detained and charged a second suspect in connection with the July assassination of Haitian President

Jovenel Moïse,

highlighting progress by American investigators even as the six-month probe in Haiti remains stalled.

Haitian businessman

Rodolphe Jaar

appeared in a Miami federal court Thursday on charges he provided weapons, ammunition and housing to former Colombians soldiers who allegedly killed the president, U.S. prosecutors said. Mr. Jaar, who had been arrested earlier this month in the Dominican Republic, didn’t enter a plea.

The development comes as Haitian authorities have jailed or implicated more than 40 people in the July 7 killing of Mr. Moïse in his home. But they have yet to charge anyone, and it remains unclear why gunmen fatally shot the president 12 times in his bedroom. His wife,

Martine Moïse,

was seriously wounded in the attack.

The investigation in Haiti has been marked by allegations of mismanagement, accusations of torture of suspects and political interference. Investigators who started looking into the case hours after the killing quit within weeks after they received threats.

An investigative judge overseeing the case in Haiti said he had been denied an extension to continue with the probe by his superiors because there had been little progress. Last year, his predecessor resigned after one of his clerks was killed in a case that remains unsolved.

Mario Antonio Palacios, a former Colombian soldier, was the first suspect charged in the U.S. in the Moïse case.



Mr. Jaar, who was a former Drug Enforcement Administration informant and convicted drug trafficker, is the second suspect charged in the U.S. Earlier this month, federal prosecutors charged

Mario Antonio Palacios,

a former Colombian soldier, in connection with Mr. Moise’s killing.

And a third suspect,

John Joël Joseph

—a former senator who authorities in Port-au-Prince say participated in key meetings with alleged conspirators and rented cars for the attackers—also is expected to wind up in the U.S. after being arrested in Jamaica, Haitian officials say.

Former Interim Prime Minister

Claude Joseph

said any key suspects in the case, including the former senator, should be sent to the U.S. to give testimony in safety instead of being returned to Haiti, where they could be killed before testifying. He noted that one suspect detained in Haiti had already died in unclear circumstances.

“Those people better be questioned by the U.S. first,” said Mr. Joseph, who isn’t related to the former senator. “In Haiti, anything can happen.”

Those concerns were echoed by Haiti’s current justice minister, Berto Dorcé, who recently said in an interview that because of security concerns, it would be better for U.S. authorities to hold Mr. Joseph, the former senator.

The U.S. is investigating Mr. Moise’s killing because the plot appears to have been at least partially financed and organized in Florida. A Miami-area security firm contracted the Colombian soldiers. Lawyers for the president of the security company have said he didn’t know of the assassination plot and was duped.

“The U.S. seems to be moving seriously in the direction of at least finding what happened in Miami with the security agency, the Haitian Americans, the Colombians, and the people from Haiti,” said Robert Fatton, a Haiti expert at the University of Virginia. “In Haiti, there is immobility on the investigation.”

A day of protest took place earlier this month in Haiti; the president’s assassination has plunged the country into political turmoil and instability.


johnson sabin/Shutterstock

Mr. Jaar’s testimony could prove crucial to uncovering details behind the killing, which has plunged Haiti into political turmoil.

Some of the Colombian soldiers have said they were told the aim of the operation was to arrest the president, not kill him. But an affidavit attached to the criminal complaint against Mr. Jaar says he told U.S. law-enforcement officials he knew that the operation against Mr. Moïse had changed from apprehending him to killing him, before the assassination took place.

Human-rights activists and former officials say the current Haitian government lacks the political will to press ahead with the case.

“There is no investigation in Haiti,’ says Pierre Esperance, director of Haiti’s National Human Rights Defense Network. Mr. Esperance said the investigation has been blocked at the highest levels of the government led by Prime Minister

Ariel Henry

to protect people within his administration who may be involved.

Mr. Henry couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. The prime minister has repeatedly denied any involvement in the killing in the past and vowed to pursue justice.

In September, Haitian police said phone records showed the prime minister had twice been contacted on the night of Mr. Moise’s assassination by one of the main suspects in the plot. But Mr. Henry said he had no memory of speaking that night to the alleged conspirator, Joseph Felix Badio, and blamed the accusations against him on political infighting.

Write to José de Córdoba at jose.decordoba@wsj.com

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