Authorities in the Dominican Republic have declared they are on course to break the record drug seizures made in 2012, in a further sign of the growing importance of the Caribbean as a cocaine transshipment point.
The recovery of more than a ton of cocaine in early October has pushed them closer to the nine tons captured last year, with authorities claiming it is proof of the effectiveness of drug interdiction efforts, reported Info Sur Hoy.
The haul is the latest of several major drug busts made in the Dominican Republic this year. A Colombian, a Venezuelan and a Dominican were arrested as part of the operation and are now in prison awaiting trial.
The announcement comes at the same time Spanish authorities announced the recovery of a ton of cocaine in Barcelona and Valencia, which they say originated in the Dominican Republic. It also comes little over a month after a large cocaine processing lab run was discovered in the country, which was being run by two Colombians.
InSight Crime Analysis
The likelihood of surpassing the record set in 2012 has been predicted since very early in the year. While Dominican authorities have claimed it as proof of their success, it comes as drug traffickers return to the Caribbean transit routes popularized in the 1980s. Earlier this year, State Department official William Brownfield predicted this development, which he attributed to law enforcement pressures in Central America.
The involvement of a Colombian and a Venezuelan in the latest drug shipment is also part of another pattern emerging, with Dominican authorities last year highlighting the growing presence of foreign organized crime in the country.
The Dominican Republic has had some success in cutting drug flights into the country, aided by a US radar system installed in Puerto Rico, however they have not cut them out altogether, as had previously been suggested. Furthermore, sea routes in and out of the country remain a major problem, as does military corruption.