Little Mexico, formerly known as The Dominican Republic
Welcome to "Little Mexico" as Dominican Watchdog started to name the DR one month ago after a serie of brutal murders the last year. Finally the failed Dominican leader admits fears of Mexican drug cartels and the citizens are scared like never before. This is all due to the extreme corruption of police, military and judges during the last 7 years with Leonel as President.......
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The information that corrupt Dominican officials provided intelligence and operational support to the drug trafficking ring is included in the charges filed against Figueroa Agosto and Antonio “Toño Leña) del Rosario Puente by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico.
“The accused and his associates obtained intelligence and assistance from corrupt officials for the purpose of promoting their drug trafficking activities,” reads the indictment of Rosario, who is in custody.
In Figueroa Agosto’s case the indictment says that he and other members of his network paid corrupt authorities to avoid arrest.
“It was part of the means used by the group of José David Figueroa Agosto and his associates to make illegal payments to the police and corrupt authorities to avoid being detained,” the indictment reads.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has also charged former senior Dominican navy officers Miguel Antonio Suárez and Carlos Rossó Peña, accusing them of having used navy boats to pick up and deliver drug loads dropped offshore.
Federal authorities allege they used their rank as Dominican naval officers “to coordinate the airdrops of bundles of drugs in the coasts of the Dominican Republic and then use official ships and Dominican sailors to recover the bundles of narcotics and to bring them to land.”
The flood of legal trouble facing reputed drug kingpin and convicted killer Figueroa Agosto just got considerably deeper last week.
Scores of federal agents and Puerto Rico police fanned out early Monday morning armed with arrests warrants on drug trafficking charges for alleged associates of the imprisoned Figueroa Agosto, who press reports have dubbed the “Pablo Escobar of the Caribbean.”
The predawn sweep came after a federal grand jury handed up drug an indictment for Figueroa Agosto, his brother Jorge Luis and more than a dozen alleged henchmen in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
The indictment includes 12 criminal charges among them conspiracy to own and distribute controlled substances, to smuggle narcotics to U.S. territory and of continuously forming part of a criminal ring. The latter charge carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison if found guilty.
The indictment represents the first federal drug charges for Figueroa Agosto, who was being held on a passport case following his bust this summer. He has already been sentenced to 209 years in prison on a Puerto Rico murder conviction.
Figueroa Agosto’s brother Jorge Luis, a Bayamón body shop owner accused of helping to run one of the largest drug smuggling organizations in the Caribbean, was arrested as he took a family vacation on a cruise ship from San Juan to St. Thomas.
John Morton, director of U.S. Immigration &Customs Enforcement, said it was a major blow to an organization that transported large amounts of South American cocaine in luxury boats from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico, where other groups sold it locally or shipped it on to the U.S. mainland through airport couriers and shipping containers.
“There are other drug trafficking organizations but this is one of the biggest,” Morton said.
Jorge Luis Figueroa Agosto, who officials said is about 40, was not well known. He lived an apparently law-abiding existence in Bayamón as the owner of a body shop with no other known criminal offenses, said Roberto Escobar Vargas, special agent in charge of ICE investigations in Puerto Rico. But authorities said he and his brother were at the top of the organization.
The others charged along with him are accused of a variety of roles in the organization, including shipping drugs and laundering profits through real estate and other business deals.
Federal authorities have seized millions of dollars in properties allegedly purchased with ill-gotten process from the sale of thousands of pounds of cocaine.
The fresh blow to Figueroa Agosto’s once-mighty drug empire is sure to further fuel speculation that he is cooperating with federal authorities to avoid being sent back to a Puerto Rican prison or back to the Dominican Republic where faces a raft of charges including drug trafficking and murder.
He has yet to be sentenced after pleading guilty in August to a federal charge of providing bogus information to get a passport a decade ago. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 in the case.
That passport helped him flee the island after he escaped from the Río Piedras State Penitentiary in 1999 using bogus release papers. He had served just five years of a life sentence on a murder conviction.
Figueroa, 45, has been held at the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo since being captured in Santurce in July after 11 years on the lam. It has been speculated that U.S. authorities are trying to flip Figueroa to land drug traffickers even higher up the smuggling chain. Puerto Rico officials have signaled they are in no rush to get him back behind bars on the local murder conviction.
Figueroa, using the ill-gotten passport issued in the name of Angel Rosa Rivera, relocated to the Dominican Republic and set up a multi-million drug smuggling operation, according to authorities.
Figueroa said he was accompanied by Toa Baja-resident Yesenia Vázquez Torres when he filed for the passport and used her address as his own on the request.
Vázquez Torres, now an attorney, was sentenced to 80 hours community service and a year of probation following her recent guilty plea in the passport case.
Chief U.S. District Judge Fusté warned Figueroa in August that his penalties would be “more severe” if it is determined that the ill-gotten passport furthered his alleged criminal empire. A sentencing hearing was slated for Dec. 1.
Attorneys for Figueroa have claimed that their client was always willing to surrender to federal authorities in Puerto Rico and FBI spokesman Harry Rodríguez has confirmed that negotiations for his surrender had been opened in mid July when Figueroa was hemmed in by federal and local authorities on Loíza Street in Santurce.
The federal charges are the least of his worries. He still has life sentence on a murder conviction in Puerto Rico hanging over his head and faces a flood of murder, drug trafficking, kidnapping and money laundering charges as the Dominican Republic’s most-wanted man.
With the Caribbean’s biggest reputed drug lord back behind bars, law enforcement authorities in the region went on the alert for potential bloody feuds among rivals and lieutenants trying to take his place.
The bust capped a decade-long chase through the Caribbean marked by his narrow escapes and public taunting that he paid off police in the Dominican Republic to remain free.
The Puerto Rican has been referred to as the “Pablo Escobar of the Caribbean.” Escobar, the Colombian drug lord of the 1980s, was an escaped convict who died in a shootout with police in 1993.
Figueroa Agosto, who is suspected of shipping Colombian drugs to the U.S. mainland through Puerto Rico, had served five years of a life sentence on a murder conviction when he escaped from the Río Piedras State Penitentiary in 1999 using bogus release papers.
Figueroa Agosto was sentenced to 209 years in prison on murder and kidnapping convictions in the 1993 slaying of Arnaldo “Edgardo” Martínez Santiago, a tow-truck driver who allegedly stole a load of Colombian cocaine. Authorities said Figueroa Agosto, then a drug boat driver, was contracted by Colombian traffickers to carry out the hit. He has also been accused in the Dominican Republic in the December killing of former Dominican Police Col. José Amado González.
He moved to the Dominican Republic a month after his escape and was briefly detained during a 2001 drug investigation, but was let go because he was using an alias. During his more than a decade on the lam, Figueroa allegedly built a multi-million-dollar drug smuggling operation from his new base in the Dominican Republic.
Though no one can say exactly how much cocaine he moved, the scale of Figueroa Agosto’s empire emerged following the botched September raid, which netted several cars, including an armored Mercedes Benz with $4.6 million in cash inside, and a laptop computer full of evidence.
With leads on several new aliases, police intensified the search. Six of his properties were confiscated — among them a million-dollar apartment in the Dominican resort area of Puerto Plata and a ranch outside Santo Domingo with a small zoo.
A man claiming to be Figueroa Agosto called a popular Dominican radio show in December to say he got away after paying police $1 million. He called again in February and pledged $800,000 to anyone who would kill one of two top Dominican police officers.
U.S. and Dominican officials said the man probably was Figueroa Agosto.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder personally pledged full cooperation to capture the fugitive, who was wanted on a U.S. Marshals warrant for his prison escape and for filing a false passport application. He also was the target of a U.S. task force focusing on major drug suppliers to the U.S.
Wanted posters were plastered across Santo Domingo, the Dominican capital, for Figueroa Agosto and his lover Sobeida Félix Morel, the country’s second-most wanted fugitive, who was detained on money-laundering charges last year. She posted bail and vanished before the extent of her alleged involvement with Figueroa became clear.
Félix Morel surrendered to authorities in Puerto Rico some eight hours after Figueroa Agosto’s arrest in July. She was extradited to the Dominican Republic and is currently on trial in Santo Domingo.
In the interim, home videos of Figueroa Agosto’s sexual exploits have been transferred to DVD and sold by the thousands in the Dominican Republic and beyond.
Source: Puerto Rico´s #1 News site in English
Dominican Watchdog note
Follow the links below you will learn that drugs, money laundering and corruption is what makes the wheels turn around in the Dominican Republic. And if you like to see many of the criminals and corrupt officials blowing cash, just visit their weekend play ground Casa de Campo in La Romana. Drug dealers like to hide in Casa de Campo because the police are not patroling there, for some odd reason Casa de Campo has their private security company for the 2000 resident area, but several villas has been seized in Casa de Campo in connection to drug cases in the last two years.
Isolated corruption, says who? and what does the President know anyway! - Dominican Republic has one of the most corrupt governments in the world
Despite the high level corruption in the Dominican Republic it seems that the Generals are never getting charged with any wrong doing, one wonder how thats possible unless corruption is deeply connected with the justice system and current government leaders.