HomeNewsBrief'Dominican Presidential Candidate Took Bribes from Drug Lord'
BRIEF

'Dominican Presidential Candidate Took Bribes from Drug Lord'

CARIBBEAN / 7 JAN 2013 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

The former lover of Puerto Rican drug lord Jose David Figueroa Agosto has accused a presidential candidate in the Dominican Republic of taking $300,000 in bribes from the drug trafficker. 

According to El Nuevo Herald, Figueroa's ex-girlfriend told law enforcement authorities in the Dominican Republic that 2008 presidential candidate Miguel Vargas Maldonado accepted three separate donations from Figueroa, each one worth $100,000. 

The ex-girlfriend, Sobeida Felix Morel, is currently serving a five-year sentence in the Dominican Republic on money laundering charges. She turned herself in after Figueroa was arrested in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in July 2010. She reportedly made the allegations against Vargas as part of her plea agreement with law enforcement authorities. 

According to Felix Morel, Vargas would receive the payments after attending private dinners with Figueroa and other guests in Santo Domingo's most upper-class neighborhood. Figueroa also donated an all-terrain vehicle to Vargas's campaign, according to the accusations. 

Vargas is currently the president of the center-left Dominican Revolutionary Party. He has denied Felix Morel's assertions, stating, "I never had dealings or links with Mr. Figueroa Agosto."

Ms Felix Morel also said that Figueroa Acosto would give payments and expensive watches to members of the police and military. 

Figueroa Acosta is currently awaiting trial in the US. He once controlled one of the most powerful and lucrative drug trafficking networks in the Caribbean, until he was caught during a massive manhunt that involve Puerto Rican forces, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). 

InSight Crime Analysis

Vargas is a powerful businessman who became wealthy through the construction business. He has faced down previous accusations of corruption: as stated by a 2006 US State Department cable published by WikiLeaks, these include assertions that his wealth came through "shady dealings." The question is whether there is enough evidence to support Felix Morel's charges against Vargas, and actually lead to a formal investigation.

Other public figures in the Dominican Republic have been accused of links to the drug trade and to Figueroa. Last year the United States revoked the visas of three presidential advisers and the chief of border security due to alleged ties to drug traffickers. The security forces have also struggled with widespread corruption in connection to the drug business. 

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

CARIBBEAN / 2 SEP 2011

The trial of nine suspected Puerto Rican hitmen, accused of at least five gangland murders, has begun in the Dominican…

CARIBBEAN / 27 OCT 2016

A military judge has indicted six Spanish military sailors and a civilian for allegedly trafficking cocaine hidden aboard a naval…

CARIBBEAN / 1 NOV 2012

The Dominican Republic will extradite retired general and former high-level anti-drug official Francisco Hiraldo Guerrero to the United States, where…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…