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

CARIBBEAN / 17 APR 2014

The proportion of drugs trafficked through the Caribbean has more than tripled in the space of five years, according to…

AUC / 9 NOV 2015

Embed from Getty Images   One of Colombia's most notorious…

EL CHAPO / 17 JUL 2019

A US federal court has sentenced former Sinaloa Cartel capo Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera to life in prison, but…

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…