|DominicanToday.com - Two U.S. Secret Service agents are in the country investigating, with Dominican authorities, the discovery of a house near El Higüero International Airport, where at least US$3.0 million were counterfeited and also served as storage for cocaine.
Sources close to the investigation quoted by elnuevodiario.com.do said the agents Pedro J. Gomez and Waldemar Blakely believe that the bogus money was taken to New York, New Jersey and Miami.
The National Drugs Control Agency (DNCD) and the Santo Domingo Province Office of the Prosecutor launched the probe February 17, once the money in 100-dollar bills was seized in the village Mata San Juan, where agents also found paper, plates and ink of superior quality, as well as the printing equipment.
DNCD spokesman Roberto Lebrón confirmed the presence of the US agents, but decline disclosing further detail. “It’s true, there are two members of the United States Secret Service in the country and they have met with the investigative officers on instructions from (DNCD chief) Rolando Rosado to provide them the required information.”
According to a statement from the DNCD, one the Secret Service agents revealed that the counterfeit dollars detected last year entered New Jersey on June 24, and on November 19 in New York, whereas in Miami’s case is more recent.
Important information about money exchange in Dominican Republic:
Counterfeit Money / Damaged or Defaced Money
Be aware that counterfeiting is a problem (local and foreign currency). When changing large bills (US$100), place a mark on each bill so that the cashier cannot return you the money, claiming it to be counterfeit. Tell the cashier your bills are marked and show the mark to avoid any fast-switching. When receiving Dominican pesos (RD$500 and higher), hold the bills flat out in front of you and tilt the bill towards and then away from yourself. Look for the yellow fluorescent stripe about 1/2 inch wide, about 1 inch from the right edge, and running from the top of the bill to the bottom. It will reflect when viewed from an angle but will not when viewed from directly overhead.
Please be aware that the country will soon no longer accept bills that have any markings of any kind. Many businesses already will not except money that has been written on or bears ink stamps as was typical of cambios that wanted to identify money that came from them and that they certify as not being counterfeit.
Banks are one of the worst places to purchase Dominican Pesos but they are often the only choice when selling a currency obscure to the Dominican Republic or trying to cash a travelers check that has been refused elsewhere. However, unless you are changing thousands of dollars, there really isn't much of a difference between the best and worst places to exchange your money.
Most hotels will exchange a limited amount of Dominican Pesos for your foreign currency, but in exchange for this service, you will usually not receive the best exchange rate.
US Dollars or Other Currency.
Note that it is almost always best to change only US Dollars for Dominican Pesos. While various other currencies such as Canadian, English, Italian, German, Swiss, etc. can be exchanged for Dominican Pesos quite readily in the tourist areas, one will save 10-35% by first converting to US Dollars at a good rate before coming to the Dominican Republic and then changing US Dollars for Dominican Pesos.
US Dollars or Dominican Pesos.
US Dollars can be used almost everywhere in the tourist areas, but your change will likely be in Dominican Pesos and store owners frequently take a peso or so off the exchange rate, in their favor. Outside of the tourist areas however, Dominican Pesos are expected and it can be difficult to find a place to exchange your dollars. Canadian and European currencies can readily be exchanged and change houses located throughout the tourist areas but generally are not accepted by merchants. The same can be said about travelers checks.