Dominican Republic: 500 kilograms of cocaine seized

By Dialogo
September 09, 2013

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Dominican counter-narcotics authorities seized about 446 packets of cocaine weighing about 500 kilograms and arrested more than a dozen alleged narco-traffickers after a dawn raid on a maritime shipment resulted in a deadly gunfight on Sept. 4, officials said.
The operation – the third major narcotics bust made by security forces in the Caribbean country in recent weeks – came to a dramatic conclusion on a beach in the country’s southwest.
Using night-vision technology, Dominican security forces spotted a group of at least 18 suspected drug traffickers unloading a speedboat allegedly full of cocaine near the town of Juancho on the Caribbean coast. The suspected drug traffickers allegedly opened fire on a security forces’ helicopter, using various caliber weapons.
From the helicopter, members of the National Directorate for Drug Control (DNCD) returned fire. Two of the alleged drug traffickers were killed and at least two others were injured, the DNCD said in a prepared statement.
The DNCD led the operation, which was supported by the Dominican military and agents from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The DNCD did not immediately identify those killed. In a statement, the agency identified two men who were injured – Luisito Turbi Carrasco, 21, and Soniel Pérez Samboy, 23.
Authorities seized the shipment on a rarely visited stretch of coast better known for its coral reefs and fresh water pools. In the same area in early September, a stripped-down speedboat was found, suspected to be remnants of a previous drug shipment, Dominican media outlets reported.
The DNCD said the early September shipment was on a speedboat from South America to the Dominican Republic, from where it would have been moved to consumers in Europe or the United States.
In mid-August, DNCD agents seized 680 pounds of cocaine from speedboats presumably coming from Santo Domingo.
On Sept. 2, Dominican authorities busted a clandestine cocaine laboratory that was discovered on a farm in a small town 40 kilometers west of the capital, Santo Domingo. Police seized 225 kilograms of cocaine paste, enough to make 2,000 kilograms of cocaine. It was the first such facility discovered in the Caribbean country.
The laboratory was similar to processing facilities found in the Colombian jungle, where authorities periodically discover large labs capable of producing thousands of kilograms of cocaine.
Analysts said the lab was further sign that traffickers are using the Caribbean to smuggle drugs.

[ (Dominican Republic), 08/09/2013; National Directorate for Drug Control (Dominican Republic), 09/09/2013]