The leader of Haiti kept a list of drug traffickers. His assassins came for that.

“When Moses discovered the weapons Hérard had ordered, he was not surprised – he was afraid,” Mr. Fortuné said.

Mr. Moïse’s relations with the already troubled presidential security forces deteriorated further. But that changed in February, when Mr. Hérard claimed to have foiled a coup attempt against Mr. Moïse. Suddenly the suspicion faded. Some former collaborators, such as Ms. Antoine and Mr. Fortuné, wondered if the alleged coup d’etat was a false flag, to dispel the suspicions of Mr. Moïse with regard to Mr. Hérard.

After fear of the coup, Mr. Moïse went on the offensive, publicly lambasting Haiti’s oligarchs and political elite for attempting to kill him, including in one of his last interviews with the Times before his death.

Behind the scenes, say Haitian officials, Mr. Moïse has started working to bring down his perceived enemies. He spoke with his closest collaborators and officials chosen to begin to build the file breaking down the drug and arms trafficking networks in Haiti, including Mr. Saint-Rémy, according to people involved in the document.

In February, Josua Alusma, the mayor of Port-du-Paix and a close ally of Moïse, ordered the repression of the eel trade, the industry dominated by Mr. Saint-Rémy. Lots of eels go to China, but Haitian police are investigating the industry as a way to launder illicit profits.

“I don’t like this job. It happens at night, you know what I’m saying? Mr Alusma said. “There is no security.”

He said the industry needs to be regulated and taxed. “People like Kiko come in and out of town,” he said, using the nickname Mr. Saint-Rémy. “But we are the ones cleaning up the trash here,” he added, referring to the illegal weapons seized during a raid this year.


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