27 Police officers arrested for drug involvement

PUERTO PLATA— President Leonel Fernandez last night relieved Puerto Plata-based Northwest Regional Police commander general Bienvenido Calderón Efres, and replaced him with brigadier general Eduardo Alberto Then.

The measure comes amid an investigation of 27 Police officers, including two colonels who served in that region, for alleged involvement in drug trafficking, including the death of a reported drug dealer and of collecting “tolls” to allow the activity, and just months after a similar number of Dominican Navy officers were charged with the killing of seven Colombian drug traffickers in Bani.

The measure was announced after a meeting of the Democratic Security Council headed by Fernandez in the Palace.

Prior to his duties in Puerto Plata, Then headed the Central Cibao Regional command based in Santiago, where he stood out for his work against organized crime.

Fernandez also fired Puerto Plata Police Investigation commander colonel Frank Felix Almonte, who was accused -together with 21 other senior officers and enlistees assigned to that precinct- of drug traffic and several murders orderered by drug traffickers.

The Presidency’s Chief of staff Cesar Pina Toribio announced Fernandez’s decision in a press conference, after a meeting with of the National Council for Citizen Security.

“These are the results of an investigation that lasted more than three months,” said Police chief Rafael Guzmán.

National Police chief Rafael Guzmán Wednesday said he won’t allow Dominican Republic to become “Mexicanized,” in reference to Mexico, a country he said has a high crime index.

He said he’ll unwaveringly fire and prosecute to full extent of the Law the agents, including generals, linked to drug trafficking.

Guzmán affirmed that at president Leonel Fernandez’s instructions the Police is immersed in a anti-corruption campaign. “We won’t allow the country to become Mexicanized in its institutions. I’m very clear and aware of the situation and the President of the Republic has expressed it to me thusly.”

The Police Chief added that there are currently more regional commands under investigation, two days after Puerto Plata Precinct commander, general Rafael Calderon Efres, was relieved of duty after investigators found evidence of his alleged links to organized crime.

From: Dominican Today

Filed Under: Puerto Plata Regional News

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  1. […] 27 Police officers arrested for drug involvement Eight of these are allegedly implicated in the assassination of three young men in early January 2009; they remain remanded in custody for three months. And the other 23? They duly appeared in Court and the case was dismissed, supposedly because the evidence presented was inadmissible. That evidence included tape recordings of these officers making ‘toll arrangements’ via cell phone and these recordings were aired on local television. So the whole town knows what the evidence was. But, it was inadmissible because it was the Chief of Police who authorised that the recordings be made and not a judge. Such a blatant error leaves the outside observer wondering if there was ever any real intention to deal with these officers as the law requires… […]

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