Some of the 1.8 tons of cocaine seized, January 2013

So far this year, the Dominican Republic has already seized more than a quarter of the total amount of cocaine it confiscated in 2012, illustrating the country's growing importance as a transshipment point for narcotics.

Officials from the Dominican National Drugs Control Agency (DNCD), working with US authorities, detained 900 kilograms of cocaine on January 13, reported Listin Diario.

The shipment was being transported by boat into Ocoa Bay, in Azua province. Upon being detected, the boat reportedly turned around and fled into international waters, throwing its cargo into the sea. Despite being pursued by Dominican military aircraft and boats, the traffickers escaped.

This seizure follows that of 1,870 kilos of cocaine last week in the same area. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Combined, these two seizures amount to over a quarter of the total amount of cocaine confiscated throughout the country in 2012, when some 8,300 kilos of the drug were seized.

DR SeizuresAs the graph (right) illustrates, the Dominican Republic has seen a significant uptick in cocaine seizures in recent years, indicating its increasing importance as a transit point for narcotics heading to the United States and Europe. While only 3-4 percent of all US-bound cocaine passes through Dominican territory, according to the US State Department, US officials have warned that traffickers are increasingly turning to Caribbean corridors. The amount seized in just two operations this month is an ominous sign that this is happening fast.

With increased cocaine flows through Dominican territory has come an increase in violence. The country has seen its homicide rate double between 2001 and 2011 from 12.5 murders per 100,000 inhabitants to 25 per 100,000. The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) attributed this rise to the growing presence of transnational criminal organisations from Mexico and South America. According to US officials, these groups often pay their local partners in cocaine rather than cash, thus helping fuel the local drug trade and drug-related violence.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros

On the morning of April 5, 1988, Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros left his palatial Tegucigalpa estate for a jog. Matta Ballesteros was wanted for murder, drug trafficking and other crimes in several countries, but in Honduras he felt safe. He regularly hosted parties for high-level officials at...

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Guatemala is Central America’s most populous country and its largest economy. But an intransigent elite, an ambitious military and a weak state has opened the way for organized crime to flourish, especially since the return of democracy.

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: The Cachiros

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: The Cachiros

As it tends to happen in Honduras, the news began as a well-heeled rumor: Javier Rivera Maradiaga, the oldest of the three Rivera Maradiaga brothers still alive and leader of the feared and powerful Honduran drug trafficking group known as the Cachiros, had handed himself in to...

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The CICIG

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The CICIG

Like any arm of the justice system, the United Nations-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala - CICIG) had its battles with elites who used their charm and their muscle to try to influence what and who the celebrated commission...

The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?

The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?

The FARC have always had a love-hate relationship with drugs. They love the money it brings, funds which have allowed them to survive and even threaten to topple the state at the end of the 1990s. They hate the corruption and stigma narcotics have also brought to...

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Jorge 40'

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Jorge 40'

Rodrigo Tovar Pupo never imagined it would come to this: dressed in an orange jumpsuit in a Washington DC courtroom and standing in front of a United States federal judge, the grandson of a wealthy Colombian cattle rancher and nephew to a governor was facing a possible...

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The 'Huistas'

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The 'Huistas'

In the northwest corner of Guatemala, a little known criminal organization known as the "Huistas" dominates the underworld, in large part due its ties with businessmen, law enforcement officials and politicians.

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Don Berna'

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Don Berna'

By the end of 1993, Pablo Escobar was cornered. The cocaine king -- known as "El Patrón" -- was running out of money and options. His top assassins were either dead or had turned themselves in. Almost all of the senior members of the Medellín Cartel were...

Elites and Organized Crime: Preface

Elites and Organized Crime: Preface

Organized crime is not an abstract concept for me. I grew up in Oak Park, a leafy suburb of Chicago with a population of about 60,000. In general, it was a very low crime city, which is perhaps why many mobsters made their homes there, among them...

Elites and Organized Crime: Conceptual Framework - Organized Crime

Elites and Organized Crime: Conceptual Framework - Organized Crime

This project defines organized crime as: a structured group of people that associate on a regular and prolonged basis to benefit from illicit activities and illegal markets. This group can be local, national or transnational in nature, and its existence is maintained using violence and threats; corruption...