At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.
The five Americans were identified as Chris Osman, 44, Christopher McKinley (who also goes by Christopher Heben), 49, both former Navy SEALs; Kent Kroeker, 52, a former Marine Corps pilot; Talon Burton, 52, a former Army military policeman and State Department security guard; and Dustin Porte, 42, the president of a business headquartered in Louisiana called Patriot Group Services, Inc., Task and Purpose reports.
The five Americans also claimed to be on “a government mission” are now facing charges of possession of illegal arms and other crimes in Haiti after being arrested by Haitian police with a cache of firearms while driving in vehicles without license plates.
In all, eight individuals, including a Russian, Serbian and Haitian national, were arrested in Port-au-Prince, Joel Casseus, the head of the Port-au-Prince police station.
While copies of the group’s U.S. passports, resident alien cards and Haitian driver’s license are circulating on WhatsApp, Haiti National Police officials say they still don’t know who the men are or why they are in Haiti.
“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.“ ~ U.S. State Department
Police found that the vehicles were carrying six automatic rifles, six pistols, two professional drones and three satellite phones. They also found a telescope, backpacks, gun vests, professional tapes and documents, he said.
Here’s a clip. pic.twitter.com/2KDKOVfrMf
— carel pedre (@carelpedre) February 21, 2019
“There were a lot of documents,” he said. This also includes a list with names, a police source said.
Asked what they were doing in Haiti, the men told police “they were on a mission, and they didn’t have to speak to us,” Casseus said. “They said they were on a government mission.”
The five Americans arrested in Haiti arrived back in the United States Wednesday night after failing to show up for their first court appearance before the Haitian justice system.
Upon their arrival in Miami aboard American Airlines flight 1059, U.S. law enforcement boarded the flight and handcuffed the men, according to a tweet from Haitian TV and radio personality Carel Pedre to his 223,600 followers at 8:25 p.m.
No one would discuss the case on the record. But sources familiar with the negotiations said the U.S. government intervened and secured the men’s release.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.