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Latino Daily News

Friday April 22, 2011

Lawmen in the Dominican Republic Abandoning the Law, Helping Cartels

Lawmen in the Dominican Republic Abandoning the Law, Helping Cartels

Photo: In the last three years, 5,000 corrupt officers have been let go in the Dominican Republic

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

In the Dominican Republic, it seems that more and more police officers, soldiers, and other lawmen are turning their backs on the law, and joining the drug traffickers and engaging in illegal activity. Those that try to stop them, however, are sometimes fired and added to the list of corrupt law officials.

With a three-year list of more than 5,000 Dominican officers and soldiers fired for being corrupt, it appears the number of those willing to go up against the cartels and traffickers is shrinking.

As Colombian cartels pass through the Dominican Republican en route to Europe and the U.S., law enforcement officers are being drawn into the illegal drug world and keeping them from reporting or detaining the traffickers. The pull of greater pay in poor countries has been a substantial problem all across Latin America, and the Dominican Republic no different.

“There is no question that most of the heavy lifting in drug trafficking in the Dominican Republic is being done by the military: They are the ones who facilitate the entry of drugs,” said Miami attorney Joaquin Perez. “They get a commission, in the form of drugs, and then find someone to sell it.”

Professor at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, Julio De La Rosa, said that a university study found that 6 in 10 reported crimes were committed by police officers.

“Based on our experience, the honorable police who commit no crime make up maybe 35 percent of the National Police,” said De La Rosa. “Some don’t participate in drug trafficking, but during searches may keep some of the suspect’s belongings. In the armed forces, you see more support and backup to illicit organizations. Murders and crime are more the work of the National Police.”

As a result, the number of officers and soldiers having been let go is extremely high. The Listo Diario neswpaper recently published a tally of firings for the last three years.

•  The armed Forces has fired 2,300 soldiers in the past three years, including two generals and six colonels
•  1,100 soldiers dismissed from the Air Force
•  1,200 police officers fired by the last police chief
•  The Army said it fired more than 100 soldiers for drug offenses alone.