HomeNewsBriefDominican Money Laundering Ring Moved Up to $70 Million per Year
BRIEF

Dominican Money Laundering Ring Moved Up to $70 Million per Year

CARIBBEAN / 17 DEC 2012 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

Authorities in the Dominican Republic reported arresting 26 people and seizing millions of dollars worth of assets linked to an international money laundering ring that moved millions of dollars between the Caribbean nation and Central and South America.

The detainees included citizens from the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Venezuela, although eight have reportedly been released since the arrest was first announced on December 13. 

The operation also saw the seizure of 15 kilos of cocaine, 20 luxury vehicles, over $1 million in cash, and several homes and apartments, according to Santo Domingo newspaper Hoy. The total value of the seized assets is thought to be a over a billion Dominican pesos, or around $25 million. 

In a press conference, national intelligence agency the DNI said the money laundering ring operated for nearly five years, and would move on average between $2.5 million to $12.5 million per month, amounting to over $70 million per year. 

The organization would move cash back and forth between the Dominican Republic and Colombia, Venezuela, and Panama, using suitcases with false bottoms. Smugglers would wrap the cash in carbon paper to prevent detection from airport x-ray machines. The smugglers also reportedly used tourist visas in order to travel. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The break-up of the money laundering ring follows the recent dismantling of a drug trafficking operation that moved cocaine between Colombia and the Dominican Republic. Such incidents call attention to the country's increased status as a hub for the international drug trade. 

And as newspaper El Nacional points out in an editorial, the successful money laundering bust was apparently carried out without any assistance from the anti-narcotics agency, the DNCD (although the DNCD later said that they were aware of the investigation for five months prior to the arrests). Neither did the operation involve the police, airport personnel, or the agency in charge of port security, known as the CESEP. As the newspaper points out, this raises questions about whether these agencies were complicit in allowing such a massive money laundering operation apparently operate unhindered for years.

The Dominican Republic has struggled to purge its security forces of corrupt elements, dismissing over 500 military and police personnel with ties to the drug trade since 2007.

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

ELITES AND CRIME / 30 SEP 2021

Evidence and accusations are piling up against Mexico's former top security official Genaro García Luna, as US prosecutors proffer new…

CACHIROS / 8 OCT 2015

In early June, four months before the US released an indictment against Jaime Rosenthal and three others, InSight Crime sat…

CARIBBEAN / 10 APR 2014

A former military commander in Guyana has sounded the alarm that the country is in danger of becoming a "narco-state,"…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…