HomeNewsBriefExtradition Helps Narcos Legalize Assets: Dominican Republic Official
BRIEF

Extradition Helps Narcos Legalize Assets: Dominican Republic Official

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC / 19 MAY 2015 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

The head of the Dominican Republic's anti-drug coordinating agency has criticized his country's extradition treaty with the United States for allowing drug traffickers to keep their assets, echoing criticisms elsewhere in Latin America over the perceived leniency extradited criminals receive.

During a May 17 interview with television program D'AGENDA (see video below), Fidias Aristy, President of the Dominican Republic's National Drug Council (CND), said extradition to the United States has become a reward bordering on impunity for drug traffickers.

Aristy stated that after serving short US prison sentences, drug traffickers are able to return to the Dominican Republic to enjoy the immense fortunes they accumulated through their illicit activities. According to Aristy, this is because the current extradition treaty with the United States keeps Dominican authorities from legally pursuing extradited criminals' properties and other assets, effectively legalizing them and allowing drug traffickers to "flaunt" and "enjoy" their wealth once they are released from prison.

As an example, Aristy cited the recent case of Yubel Enrique Mendez, alias "Oreganito," a convicted drug trafficker who spent only four-and-a-half years in a US prison before returning to the Dominican Republic, where his large fortune remained intact.

Although the United States and the Dominican Republic signed a new extradition treaty in January 2015, Aristy said the changes were superficial and failed to enable Dominican authorities to seize the assets of extradited drug traffickers.

During the interview, Aristy stated that in Colombia criminals used to say, "It's better to die than be extradited to a US prison," but now, Aristy feels, "it can be said that in the Dominican Republic and [Colombia] it is better to be extradited to the United States than anything else."

InSight Crime Analysis

The extradition of drug traffickers to the United States has long been a contentious issue in Latin America.

In the past, critics in Colombia have complained that criminals receive lenient sentences in the United States in exchange for cooperating with authorities, rather than answering for their crimes at home. Indeed, as Aristy mentions in the interview, Colombian criminals -- once fearful of extradition to the United States -- have come to see extradition as an opportunity to obtain a reduced sentence.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Extradition

Nonetheless, for many Latin American governments the extradition of powerful criminals often serves as the best option given the weaknesses of some local judicial systems. The Dominican Republic is no exception to this, with a judicial system that has seen allegations of widespread corruption, and cases of security forces involved in drug trafficking.

Ultimately, while Aristy's complaints that extradited drug traffickers are getting off easy may be legitimate, there is little to suggest Dominican criminals would avoid impunity and receive stricter punishment in their home country's courts.

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

CRIMINAL MIGRATION / 12 OCT 2022

US and Guatemalan authorities will tell you Moises Humberto Rivera Luna, alias "Viejo Santos," is a top member of the…

CARIBBEAN / 9 MAR 2022

The Dominican Republic has dismantled a transnational cybercrime network believed to have defrauded hundreds of US citizens to the tune…

BRAZIL / 20 FEB 2021

Drug traffickers engage in a creative game of hide and seek with coast guards and other security forces that board…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…