HomeNewsBriefDominican Republic Drug Bust Shows Air Trafficking Routes Still Active
BRIEF

Dominican Republic Drug Bust Shows Air Trafficking Routes Still Active

CARIBBEAN / 21 MAR 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

The Dominican Republic has arrested 35 security officials in connection with a drug shipment, exposing the level of corruption in the country, and challenging assertions by the US that drug flights from the island have "all but disappeared."

The National Drugs Control Agency (DNCD) seized 680 kilos of cocaine from an executive airplane at the Punta Cana airport in the early morning of March 19, reported Hoy Digital. The drugs were stashed in 28 suitcases on a plane bound for France, according to DNCD head General Rolando Rosado Mateo.

During the operation, DNCD officials arrested the four French crew members of the plane and 35 security officials from the DNCD itself, the National Investigation Department (DNI), the Specialized Airport Security Corps (CESA) and the immigration agency -- though immigration officials denied that members of their agency had been detained in connection with the case, according to Listin Diario.

Rosado reported that over the course of a six-month investigation, the authorities found that the DNCD head of airport security and other officials had received at least $60,000 in bribes. These officials were allegedly linked to a trafficking network that moved drugs from the Dominican Republic to various countries in Europe. DNCD authorities were tipped off by reports from France, Holland, Belgium and other European countries regarding the seizure of drug shipments coming from the Punta Cana airport.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Caribbean appears to be regaining importance to drug traffickers, with US officials observing a shift back to the use of Caribbean sea routes for drug trafficking in 2012, and noting an increased number of drug flights stopping on Caribbean islands.

The Dominican Republic is already on track for a record year in cocaine seizures in 2013, following two seizures in January that amounted to over a quarter of the total cocaine seized in 2012.

According to the US State Department, drug traffickers usually use maritime routes to move cocaine bound for North America and Europe through the Dominican Republic, while drug flights have "all but but disappeared" following successful interceptions. US Embassy official Daniel Foote reiterated this in February, around the same time that the DNCD announced it would place a greater emphasis on maritime surveillance.

The current case shows that significant quantities of drugs are still being trafficked by air. It also highlights the role of government corruption in the Dominican Republic's increased importance as an international drug trafficking hub. Another example of both air trafficking and official corruption was uncovered in October 2012, when officials dismantled a drug trafficking ring that moved cocaine from Venezuela to the Dominican Republic using commercial flights and military connections.

Corruption among public officials led to the removal of 77 DNCD officers in 2012, as well as the creation of new vetting and incentive schemes.

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 / 16 JUN 2022

For nearly a week, a powerful Haitian gang has forcibly occupied the country’s Palace of Justice, with no response from…

BOLIVIA / 8 NOV 2022

The Amazon is one of the world’s most biodiverse regions, where wildlife trafficking threatens hundreds of thousands of species.

CARIBBEAN / 10 MAY 2021

High-ranking officials in the Dominican Republic are accused of siphoning millions of dollars in state funds through a religious non-profit,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…

WORK WITH US

Work With Us: Research Internship and Editorial Internship

31 OCT 2022

InSight Crime, a think tank dedicated to the study of organized crime and citizen security in the Americas, is seeking interns and investigators to join its dynamic, multinational team.