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BRIEF

18 Arrested in Dominican Republic Crackdown

CARIBBEAN / 6 DEC 2010 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

Dominican authorities yesterday seized a plane carrying a shipment of drugs en route to Puerto Rico and arrested the two pilots and eighteen soldiers associated with the incident.  

According to the Dominican newspaper El Nuevo Dia, the alleged criminals included six officers and members of a canine unit working at the airport from which the plane took off. Rosado Mateo, head of the country’s anti-drug task force, said that the smugglers had filled the walls and floor of the plane with cocaine.

Although the total weight has yet to be determined, Mateo said there were 145 packages of the drug hidden in the plane. The pilots, both U.S. nationals, were identified as Kevin Kuranz and Christopher Smith, and are currently under investigation.

Despite the small amount of drugs confiscated, the incident reveals the level of criminal permeation inside the Dominican Republic, a country that is a frequent springboard for transporting cocaine from South America to the United States.

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