Dominican Republic’s Drug Trafficking Distinction

January 19, 2017 OPINION/NEWS

Ricardo Rojas/Reuters



Ricardo Swire

Caribbean tourists of mixed nationalities are transported by planes and ships that frequently come and go, a perfect camouflage for transnational traffickers.

Islands have an abundance of modern banking institutions that provide avenues to launder cash. In 2004 transnational traffickers began to deliver cocaine consignments to Puerto Rico, situated in the Caribbean, rather than directly to America. 2004 was also the year the Dominican Republic’s (DR) government discovered that most imported cocaine arrived by land from neighboring Haiti, DR and Haiti sharing the island Hispaniola.

The DR’s criminal element stalwartly capitalized on its relationship with Colombian equals. Such association facilitated increased cocaine exports from Colombia to the DR onward to America. The DR became a “layover” point to mislead international customs and law enforcement staff focused on traffickers travelling directly from Aruba, Suriname or Venezuela. Between 2011 and 2013 interdiction records showed drugs that transited the DR increased eight hundred percent.

National intelligence reports described how gangs recruit children as young as eight years of age, gang leaders recognizing that children under thirteen are neither charged nor kept in jail if arrested. DR youths are threatened and bullied to be active with gangs and drug traffickers. Transnational cocaine shipments, destined for America or Europe, travel across the Colombian border to Venezuela. From Caracas such consignments are transported to the DR, Honduras, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central American way-stations.

On January 2 2017 a US Customs & Border Patrol (CBP), Caribbean Air & Marine Branch plane detected a high speed boat navigating suspiciously in the DR’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). USS Zephyr, carrying a Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Team, was deployed to intercept the mysterious vessel. The USS Zephyr is a United States Navy “Cyclone” class coastal patrol ship. eighth of thirteen vessels in the Cyclone category. USS Zephyr stopped the high speed boat and a boarding party found nine hundred and seven kilos or two thousand pounds of cocaine. The US$30 million drug consignment was seized and four traffickers arrested.

DR traffickers have allegiances to Latin American crime syndicates that mastermind creative use of containerized cargo lines for transportation of cocaine to Europe, especially Italy. Modern trends show DR based traffickers among the top of Spain’s transnational watch list. Spain’s drug arrest amounts qualify DR nationals as second only to Spanish citizens. In America the DR’s large immigrant population is comprised of fifty-four criminal gangs that control drug distribution in Allentown, Reading, Pennsylvania, New Haven and Connecticut. New York City, South Bronx and Washington Heights are renowned for heavy DR gang activity.










Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.


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