U.S. Donates Equipment to Dominican Republic Anti-Drug Trafficking Agency
By Dialogo June 22, 2015
The United States government has donated computer equipment to the Dominican Republic National Drug Control Directorate (DNCD) to help it fight transnational organized criminal groups that use the island as a transit point for drug trafficking.
“We should welcome any initiative that contributes to make the work of fighting drug trafficking more efficient, and this donation can strengthen that effectiveness,” said Wilfredo Lozano, director of the Center for Research and Social Studies at the Universidad Iberoamericana in the Dominican Republic.
The donation, was made through the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic and the International Affairs Bureau of Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) in the framework of cooperation agreements between the governments of both nations. U.S. authorities delivered it to DNCD president Major General Julio Cesar Souffront Velasquez in a ceremony at Directorate's headquarters on May 28.
“This new step will allow the interconnection of all offices across the country,” the General said.
The equipment is part of an aid package worth about $1.5 million overall; law enforcement authorities have already recorded the donated equipment in the DNCD Fixed Assets System and will distribute it to different departments.
DNCD cooperates with the U.S. to confiscate drugs
The DNCD will use the equipment to fight organized crime groups and seize illegal drugs.
Dominican Republic law enforcement authorities have confiscated 7,000 kilos of cocaine since January 1, this year often in cooperation with U.S. and other partner nations. For instance, in early June, the DNCD, captured seven suspected members of an international drug trafficking organization. Authorities had tracked the network's shipments for weeks, and arrested the suspects as they were transporting small amounts of cocaine in a Santo Domingo restaurant parking lot. The alleged drug trafficking group included Dominicans, Belgians, Colombians and Serbs; it used the Dominican Republic to send large drug shipments from South America into the United States and Canada.
“The interdictions are the result of greater efficiency. The security forces of both countries are fighting the increase of drug trafficking in the region,” said Lozano.
Other U.S. donations to the DR to help combat drug trafficking
The computer equipment isn't the first donation the United States government has made to the Dominican Republic in the fight against transnational criminal organizations and drug trafficking.
For example, in September 2014, the U.S. donated to the Dominican Republic a 37-foot Boston Whaler Interceptor Patrol Boat during a ceremony held at the Dominican Navy base 27 de Febrero. The vessel is the tenth of a planned 12 to be donated by the U.S., and will be used by the Dominican Navy to support joint and interagency efforts to combat drug trafficking. The nine other boats are deployed in diverse locations across the nation, including Cabo Rojo, Barahona, Las Calderas and Punta Cana.
The event was attended by Navy Chief Edmundo Félix Pimentel, who thanked the United States for the donation.
“The training of security personnel and the donation of equipment are part of the cooperation between the two nations,” Lozano said. In addition to fighting drug trafficking “right now it is important for the Dominican Republic to be monitoring the land and marine Dominican-Haitian border that is used by criminal organizations for human trafficking as well.”