Español On Monday, January 12, authorities in the Dominican Republic formally charged the head of the country’s police anti-drug division with stealing 1.2 tons of cocaine seized during raids across the country.
In December, Carlos Fernández Valerio, along with four other colonels, two deputy prosecutors, and several low to mid-ranking officers, allegedly stole three shipments of cocaine — valued at over US$67.5 million in the drug market — and sold them to large-scale traffickers and local dealers.
The indictment also names two prosecutors and other civilians who assisted in the scheme.
On December 16, the chief of police arrested Valerio and detained him for a brief time, before ultimately letting him go with a temporary suspension. Valerio’s successor, Colonel Francisco E. Bloise, is not without his own controversy. In 2006, a court convicted Bloise on human-trafficking charges, but was later acquitted by the Supreme Court.
In late 2014, the president of the Dominican Alliance Against Corruption (Adocco), Julio César de la Rosa Tiburcio, demanded the elimination of the anti-drug division of the National Police (Dican), calling it “a hindrance in the effective prosecution of drug traffickers, which has resulted in a significant increase of police corruption.”
De la Rosa remarked that, since its creation, Dican has been the target of frequent complaints. He said the country’s local police force at one time was tasked with fighting the drug trade, but was also marred in corruption scandals.
In the past, the police and military corruption cases “have usually involved low and mid-level officials who were bought off by drug traffickers,” says Insight Crime‘s James Braggant.
“In contrast, the latest scandal involves the very leaders of the agency tasked with halting the flow of drugs through the country, which is a key transit point for South American cocaine shipped into the United States. It also involves corrupt security forces running their own theft and resale operations rather than accepting the bribes of criminal organizations,” he adds.
Source: El Nuevo Diario.