Dominican Republic: Narco-trafficking ring dismantled

By Dialogo
December 14, 2012

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Dominican counter-narcotics agents dismantled an international drug trafficking ring, arrested four suspects and prevented a major cocaine shipment from entering the country, officials said.
The National Directorate for Drug Control (DNCD) said the operation detected speedboats approaching the country’s Caribbean coast near the city of Baní, west of the nation’s capital of Santo Domingo. One boat was intercepted and agents seized 10 packets of cocaine, but officials believe the narco-traffickers dumped at least 800 kilograms (1,764 pounds) of cocaine into the sea.
José Calderón Rijo, known as “La Araña” (The Spider), José Alfonzo Morroi, Lalyis Alberto Sierra Ferrera and Aurelio Elizardo Hernández Sánchez were taken into custody.
“These were members of a drug-trafficking structure that would bring cocaine from Colombia,” the DNCD said in a prepared statement.
DNCD Chief Maj. Gen. Rolando Rosado Mateo said the operation, coordinated by the DNCD, involved members of the Dominican Air Force, Navy and National Police and assistance from the United States military. Two helicopters were used, one American and one Dominican, two Super Tucano aircrafts and two Navy boats.
The teams spotted speedboats off the coast of the Dominican Republic about 87 miles south of the shore. The operation was launched Dec. 10 at 1 a.m. and concluded around 6:30 a.m. the same morning, said Roberto Lebrón, a DNCD spokesman.
Morroi, who is Colombian, was arrested in the boat that DNCD agents seized along with the 10 packets of cocaine. The other three suspects were caught in subsequent raids in and around Santo Domingo.
DNCD officials said Calderón was the ringleader of a drug gang and used a cover as a businessman and entrepreneur to conceal the gang’s activities. Known as “Burungo” (Frog), “Tony” and “René” among other aliases, he allegedly utilized cockfighting rings and a money lending business as a front.
The gang’s drug shipments allegedly came from South America via maritime routes. The gang received the narcotics and made plans to send them along to the United States and Europe, authorities said.
[DNCD (Dominican Republic), 11/12/2012; Proceso (Dominican Republic), 11/12/2012]