The Caribbean’s Drug Trafficking Command Center

May 2, 2017 Crime , OPINION/NEWS , South America

AFP photo



Ricardo Swire

The Dominican Republic maintains its standing as the Caribbean’s drug trafficking command center. The country’s seizures reflect its prosperous transshipment business.

For 2012 internal security counter-narcotics personnel seized 8,300 kilos of cocaine. In January 2013 two operations alone intercepted 2,77 kilos of the drug. Statistics showed over a two year period cocaine shipments, from the DR to America and Europe, increased eight hundred percent.

From September 2016 to October 5, 2016 a forty-nine year old DR trafficker known as “Mata,” who lived in Haverstraw New York, was part of a conspiracy to transport twenty kilos of cocaine to America. The drug was wrapped in a clear vacuum-sealed bag and smuggled from the DR to New York. US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) records noted Mata traffics and wholesales cocaine in Rockland County, New York. He utilized airport connections in the DR and New York to smuggle the twenty kilo drug package aboard a commercial airline flight and arrange its delivery.

Recently a team of law enforcers from America’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the DEA and New York Police Department (NYPD), dismantled a prosperous Dominican Republic drugs trafficking syndicate in the Bronx, New York City. In early April 2017 the DHS also arrested a rogue employee who offered his assistance to DR drug traffickers, attempting to transport more than one hundred pounds of cocaine via John F Kennedy International Airport in New York.

On April 20, 2017 crack cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, marijuana, guns and ammunition were seized from the “Slut” or “Pandilla Punta Gang” operating in America. Detained members were charged with drug trafficking, robbery, extortion, racketeering and possession of illegal guns. Similar DR traffickers function on America’s East Coast in Boston, New York and Philadelphia. Intelligence reports suggested DR gangsters in New York City number more than one thousand, one hundred. These criminal characters send billions of dollars by electronic remittances to their Caribbean homeland.

Counterparts based in the DR work directly with Colombian suppliers to provide “special order” American cocaine and heroin consignments. Updates advised DR gangsters or “Bandoleros” use the criminal lifestyle and mentalities for protection. They are also satellites of international crime rackets. The European Union’s COPOLOD Program report informed two particular DR maritime ports, Rio Haina and Multimodal Caucedo, are considered threats to American and European national security. The COPOLOD Program is a counter-narcotics trafficking partnership and cooperation agreement between forty-seven Caribbean, Latin American, Organization of American States (OAS) and EU countries.

The formal document cited cargo inspections as one precarious vulnerability. Rio Haina port in Santo Domingo is a Caribbean feeder between the DR, San Juan and the Virgin Islands. Multimodal Caucedo port facility is exclusively used for cargo received from the Caribbean community. Both port processes are only capable of handling empty containers. Employed security technology has an insignificant 140 millimetres penetration. The DR’s eleven year old screening machines are unable to detect cleverly disguised drug consignments, explosives or dangerous goods and barely process fifty containers an hour.

Despite US DHS insistence, to inspect thousands of shipping containers traversing DR ports annually, powerful domestic business groups agitate against increased security. In 2013 the DR’s American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAMDR) Executive Director petitioned local government to cancel a vital contract with a particular American company, an agreement originally approved by the DR’s Congress signed by the President. The US business was granted permission to introduce a digitization system and install modern X-Ray machines for containers transiting DR ports, at one third the current costs.










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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