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

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

In San Pedro Sula's jailhouse, chaos reigns. The inmates, trapped in their collective misery, battle for control over every inch of their tight quarters. Farm animals and guard dogs roam free and feed off scraps, which can include a human heart. Every day is visitors' day, and...

Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

Former Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla -- a decorated war hero and a longtime US ally -- finds himself treading water amidst a flurry of accusations about corruption and his connections to drug traffickers. López Bonilla is not the most well-known suspect in the cases against...

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

José Adán Salazar Umaña is the only Salvadoran citizen currently on the US government's Kingpin List. But in his defense, Salazar Umaña claims is he is an honorable businessman who started his career by exchanging money along the borders between Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He does...

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

Local police and justice officials are convinced that the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) has strengthened its presence along the East Coast of the United States. The alarm follows a recent spate of violence -- of the type not seen in a decade -- which included dismembered bodies and...

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

Throughout the continent, the debate on whether or not the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) gang is working with or for drug traffickers continues. In this investigation, journalist Carlos García tells the story of how a member of the MS13 entered the methamphetamine distribution business under the powerful auspices...

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's prisons are a reflection of the multiple conflicts that have plagued the country for the last half-century. Paramilitaries, guerrillas and drug trafficking groups have vied for control of the jails where they can continue to manage their operations on the outside. Instead of corralling these forces...

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Following Guatemala's long and brutal civil war, members of the military were charged, faced trial and sentenced to jail time. Even some members of a powerful elite unit known as the Kaibil were put behind bars. Among these prisoners, none were more emblematic than Captain Byron Lima...

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador's prison system is the headquarters of the country's largest gangs. It is also where one of these gangs, the MS13, is fighting amongst itself for control of the organization.

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

Special Agent David LeValley headed the criminal division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Washington office until last November 8. While in office, he witnessed the rise of the MS13, the Barrio 18 (18th Street) and other smaller gangs in the District of Columbia as well...