Chris Osman and Chris McKinley (formerly known as Chris Heben) were arrested this weekend in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on conspiracy charges.  Also arrested in the same group was a former US Marine named Kent Kroeker and several Serbian contractors identified as Bajavic Danilo, Vlad Jankovic and three others named Estera Michael, Daniel Dustin, and Burton Talon.  According to Danilo’s LinkedIn account, he works for a company called K17 Security.

According to the Miami Herald, the group of private security contractors were parked in a SUV and a pickup truck about a block away from Haiti’s central bank when they were approached by local police officers.  Suspicions were aroused because the vehicles had their license plates removed.  The contractors told the police that they were on a “government mission” according to the Haitian police department, but officers were skeptical of this claim and continued to question them.

A picture of Kent Kroeker from Kroeker Partners. As of Wednesday, the website offers the disclaimer: “Kroeker Partners LLC has no active engagements underway in Haiti and is not in a position to offer comments on recent developments in the country.”

When the police discovered that the contractors were heavily armed and unwilling to identify themselves, they were taken into custody.  In the vehicles police discovered, “six automatic rifles, six pistols, two professional drones and three satellite phones. They also found a telescope, backpacks, gun vests, professional tapes and documents” to include a list with names on it the Miami Herald reports.

One of the contractors allegedly claimed that they were working for the central bank, but the bank’s governor claims to have had no knowledge of them.  Interestingly, their passports were not stamped with entry visas into the country, according to Port-au-Prince chief of police Joel Casseus.  All eight contractors are currently being detained by Haitian authorities and the US consulate has been made aware of their arrest.

McKinley previously served on SEAL Team 8 before working as a security contractor.  He is known for making media appearances to comment on national security issues.  In 2014, McKinley took to social media to recount a story about how he had been shot in a parking lot, ostensibly by gang members before trying to chase them down but eventually deciding to seek medical attention.  The local police doubted the story which they claimed did not match McKinley’s cell phone records, surveillance camera footage from a nearby fire department, or the recollections of two police officers who were parked about 65 feet away from where the alleged shooting took place.

The police charged McKinley with lying about the attack, alleging that he shot himself and was simply seeking media attention.  At trial, McKinley was found not guilty.  Soon after, the former SEAL changed his name from Chris Heben to Chris McKinley.

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Chris Osman previously served in the Marine Corps and then on SEAL Team 3.  Osman founded a tactical gear company called TAG and currently sells motorcycle equipment through his website.  In 2017, Osman was sentenced to two days incarceration for an assault that took place during a road rage incident in San Diego.  DISCLOSURE: Chris Osman has a long running and very public feud on social media with Hurricane CEO and former SEAL team-mate Brandon Webb.  NEWSREP is a property of Hurricane.

Regarding the nature of the security contractor’s work in Haiti, the Miami Herald reported that one of the two vehicles they were using was, “was purchased by a former government official and sent to the care of Fritz Jean-Louis, an adviser of President Jovenel Moïse. Jean-Louis has since fled the country.”

A source spoke to NEWSREP about the job they were contracted for, stating that they were working for Banque de la République d’Haiti (BRH), the Haitian treasury department, whose employees are allowed to be armed.  The tasks they were hired to perform was VIP security, security consultations for BRH facilities, and to provide armed security for city-to-city monetary transfers.

However, the local contacts for the security contractors failed to secure BRH identification cards for them and inform the local police.  Due to the lack of deconfliction, the police understandably arrested armed foreigners who would not, or could not, identify themselves.

How the firearms the contractors carried found their way to Haiti remains unknown and under investigation.

Now these contractors find themselves trapped in a political struggle between Haiti’s President, Jovenel Moïse and Prime Minister, Jean-Henry Céant.  A security consultant in the region told NEWSREP that there are concerns that the Prime Minister is likely to use the arrest to his political advantage by claiming that the President hired US military veterans to assassinate him.