SANTO DOMINGO – A large international drug ring operated by Dominicans, Jamaicans, Colombians, Venezuelans, Puerto Ricans, Americans and Bahamians that provided planes used to smuggle drugs from South America into the United States has been dismantled, Dominican drug enforcement officials said.
Businessmen Rafael Senen Rosado Fermin, owner of Caribair, Sergio Rene Gomez Diaz and Jose Figueroa Ortiz were arrested on charges that they headed the criminal organization.
Army Lt. Col. Juan Ramon Rosado Perez, three other soldiers and a former National Police officer were also arrested for providing information and protection to the gang, DNCD drug enforcement agency chief Gen. Rolando Rosado Mateo said.
Among the other suspects arrested were Venezuelan citizen Jose Veras Marquez; Puerto Rican Harry William Nazario; U.S. citizens Alberto Laureano and Daimond Mario Perez; Bahamian Holmer Errol Outram; and Dominicans Victor Hugo Sanchez Portez, Danny Salvador Ramirez Cabral and Christian Suarez Javier.
The Jamaicans and Colombians involved in the drug trafficking network were identified by authorities in their respective countries, the DNCD said.
Authorities allege that the suspects brought airplanes into the country and modified them so they would have the capability to fly longer distances and carry more fuel.
The planes were sent to South America to pick up narcotics bound for the United States.
The gang operated under the protection of soldiers deployed at the Expedicion 14 de Junio airport in Constanza in the central Dominican Republic, as well as air cargo employees at airports in several other cities, Rosado Mateo said.
“This organization managed to even penetrate the airport controls as a result of the assistance received at the cited airports, where they managed to recruit soldiers of different ranks and civilians to conduct their activities without problems or suspicions,” the DNCD chief said.
Authorities seized six planes, commercial properties and residences worth “tens of millions of dollars” from the three businessmen who allegedly ran the network, Rosado Mateo said. EFE