HomeNewsBriefDominican Military Accused of Trafficking Arms from US Suppliers
BRIEF

Dominican Military Accused of Trafficking Arms from US Suppliers

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 28 JAN 2016 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

High ranking members of the Dominican Republic security forces have been arrested for arms trafficking in a case that reveals how corrupt networks of officials allegedly use US gun suppliers and false documents to skirt the country's gun control regulations.

On January 27, the Dominican authorities arrested seven officials from the Ministry of Defense’s War Materials Department on charges of illegally importing 220 weapons into the country for sale to the public, the Associated Press reported.

One police officer and six military officials were detained, among them General Bienvenido Cordero Batista, who until recently was the head of the department, the department's arms deposit manager and the official in charge of processing weapon possession permits, El Caribe reported. The military officials allegedly falsified Ministry of Defense documents to import the weapons then passed them on for sale a private store owned by an army coronel.

SEE ALSO:  Coverage of Dominican Republic

Suspicions over the network first came to light in August last year, when several members of the ring were questioned after US authorities had provided their Dominican counterparts with a list of weapons they believed had been purchased legally in the United States then trafficked into the Dominican Republic, Acento reported. The US investigations began after authorities detained a woman illegally transporting 12 firearms into the country from the United States. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Corrupt security forces are a major source of illegal arms throughout the region, and similar cases have been exposed in numerous countries, including El SalvadorHondurasGuatemala, Colombia.

Sourcing arms from the United States is also common in the world of Latin American arms trafficking, as lax restrictions, particularly over purchasing high caliber assault weapons, has seen criminal groups buy arms legally through straw buyers in the United States then traffic them around the region.

SEE ALSO:  Coverage of Arms Trafficking

What is less common is a combination of the two methods, yet this is not the first such case in the Dominican Republic; one of the largest arms trafficking networks ever discovered in the country allegedly included a former police lieutenant, and similarly operated by sourcing US weapons and falsifying official documents.

The reason for this may be found in the Dominican Republic's gun control regulation introduced in 2006, which banned imports of all firearms for trade purposes. As is common with organized crime, it appears closing off one supply source has driven trafficking networks to seek out new supplies from countries where such restrictions are largely absent. 

Nevertheless, the Dominican government is looking to implement a number of initiatives to further reduce public access to weapons in a country where average rate of homicides by firearm was a troubling 17.8 per 100,000 between 2007 and 2012, according to the Small Arms Survey.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 25 FEB 2021

Alto Paraná is home to some of Paraguay’s most dynamic criminal economies. Contraband goods continue to flood Brazil and Argentina…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 22 JUL 2014

Investigations into alleged arms trafficking by members of El Salvador's military have now reached the top, with a former defense…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 2 FEB 2011

(With permission from the Investigative Reporting Workshop.) Armed with assault rifles and hand grenades, Arturo Beltran Leyva, head…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…