A top-level prosecutor in the Dominican Republic said the military and police are involved in 90 percent of organized crime cases, putting a hard number to official involvement in criminal activity after years of high-level corruption scandals.
Yeni Berenice Reynoso, the chief prosecutor for the district where capital city Santo Domingo is located, claims the military and police are usually involved in high-level drug trafficking, contract killings, and organized crime, El Diario reported.
Her allegation comes a day after the National Drugs Control Agency (DNCD) seized 450 kilograms of an unidentified white powder -- presumably cocaine or heroin -- from an inbound flight from Venezuela at the International Airport of the Americas, according to news website Noticia al Dia. Four members of the military were arrested in the bust, including a captain and a second lieutenant.
On Twitter, Berenice said that 3,000 members of the national police were discharged due to misconduct between June 2013 and March 2014:
La misma @PoliciaRD informó q de 26/6/2013 a 20/3/2014 había botado,en menos de un año, 3000 policías por vinculaciones a hechos delictivos— Yeni Berenice (@YeniBerenice) March 19, 2015
On March 12, the same prosecutor announced an investigation into 25 police and members of the military for involvement in a bank scam.
InSight Crime Ananysis
Although there is no indication of how Berenice calculated her 90 percent statistic, her statement is certainly backed up by many past cases of military and police involvement in criminal activity. In January, the head of the Dominican Republic anti-narcotics police (the DICAN) and several junior officers were indicted for stealing 1.2 tons of cocaine, leading to concerns that the anti-drug agency was actually operating like a drug-running organization in its own right.
There have also been recent allegations by a major drug trafficker -- also a former army captain --that he funded two political campaigns of ex-President Leonel Fernandez -- and was owed $4.5 million dollars.
SEE ALSO: Coverage of the Dominican Republic
Berenice’s claim that military and police participate in contract killings is also corroborated by the Attorney General, who said in a June 2014 interview that most of country’s police are involved in drug-related murders. A 2012 report from Amnesty International stated that police commit 15 percent of all homicides in the Dominican Republic, and often report extrajudicial killings as “exchanges of fire” with suspects.