Dominican Republic: 680 kilograms of cocaine seized

By Dialogo
August 27, 2013

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Dominican authorities seized 680 kilograms of cocaine and arrested two Colombians as they tried to leave the country, capping one of the most significant drug seizures in months in the Caribbean nation.
The National Directorate for Drug Control (DNCD) said on Aug. 24 it arrested Edmundo Rafael Fernández Olaya and Lian Lsbyn Lubo Larrada at the international airport outside Santo Domingo as they prepared to board a flight back to their home country. The two men were the alleged leaders of a criminal network that tried to smuggle narcotics by boat into the Dominican Republic.
Outside the airport, DNCD agents arrested three Dominicans – Augusto “Vitico” Ruiz Mella, Danilito Urbáez Sánchez and Yenifer Rosalia Zorilla Alcántara – who allegedly had accompanied the Colombians to the airport.
The arrests marked the culmination of an operation that dismantled a network of alleged traffickers – eight others had been previously arrested – and seized a large amount of cocaine, the DNCD said in a prepared statement.
The drug shipments were discovered starting on Aug. 14, when counter-narcotics authorities found 343 packets of cocaine hidden near the small, southeastern fishing village of Boca de Yuma.
“It was determined that a band of drug traffickers in the eastern part of the country was receiving drugs coming from South America aboard speedboats,” the DNCD said in a prepared statement.
Three days later, an operation involving the Dominican Army, Air Force, Navy and the DNCD discovered 316 more packets of cocaine hidden in a cave in a national park that was part of the same shipment.
Shortly after the first shipment was seized, authorities arrested eight people they alleged were accomplices: Alberto de los Santos Rodríguez, Anyiro Israel Tavarez Berroa, Luis Francisco Silverio Berroa, José Sánchez, Félix Antonio Inoa Domínguez, Viterbo Jiménez Flores, Ernesto García and Manuel Emilio Cedeño.
The suspects allegedly were part of what the DNCD described as part of a “powerful organization” headed by Colombians and Venezuelans.
The seizure also marked the first major bust for the DNCD under the direction of Maj. Gen. Julio César Souffront Velázquez, who was appointed its chief by President Danilo Medina in June.
“The cartels continue working here and the Caribbean corridor continues being very active,” Souffront Velázquez said. The Caribbean is a route used by “the remnants of cartels, like the [Colombian] North Valley cartel and the violent Sinaloa cartel” from Mexico.
Dominican Republic is on pace to surpass its annual drug seizure record of 8,300 kilograms, which it set last year.
[ (Dominican Republic), 26/08/2013; DNCD (Dominican Republic), 24/08/2013]