Supreme Court orders arrests of three

SANTO DOMINGO.-The Supreme Court ordered the arrest of several persons tied to the Quirino case, while the investigative organizations of the nation are on the track of another three persons wanted for extradition. The three are presumed to be tied to former captain Quirino Ernesto Paulino Castillo, and there are now arrest warrants for each of the three.

The search comes at the time at which the arrest warrant handed down by the Supreme Court for Ernesto Bienvenido Guevara Diaz (Maconi) was served. Guevara Diaz had been identified as the person that acquired the truck, loaded it with 1,387 kilograms of cocaine and acted as a sort of guide for the trip to the Cibao on 18 December, 2004.

The United States said that Guevara had the job of receiving the cocaine, and wrapping it up for shipping and, together with another partner, should have handed over the shipment to yet another individual who was in charge of sending it to the U.S. A cooperating witness identified the voice of the accused on the tapes.

Meanwhile the other three persons wanted for the Quinino case form part of the first extradition requests that resulted from the plea bargaining of the accused in the famous case in New York.

The arrest of Guevara Diaz was carried out on Sunday by the DNCD. Guevara's lawyer, Virgilio de Leon, called the arrest illegal, because the arrest warrant was not presented and he said he might file a writ of Habeas Corpus.

According to the file, more than 80 phone calls between the extraditable and Paulino Castillo were tapped during the operation that led to the seizure of the drugs, calls where they supposedly talked about the transaction.

The diplomatic note sent by the United States Embassy, on 9 January 2009, states that Guevara is wanted for trial on conspiracy to distribute and possession of narcotic drug charges. The arrest was carried out according to a warrant from the Supreme Court.

The head of the DNCD, Major General Gilberto Delgado Valdez, said that this is the first extradition requested by the authorities of the Court for the Southern District of New York and related to the Quinino case.

He said that Guevara Diaz was arrested at the Las Americas International Airport, together with the deportee Frank Reyes Jimenez who had served 11 years in jail for drug trafficking in New York.

The data offered by the DNCD to the reporters showed that "Maconi" has a long rap sheet with five different citations by the DNCD for his participation in previous drug shipments together with Rolando Florian Feliz, who is serving a 20 year sentence in Najayo Prison, and he was considered to be the head of the logistical and operations section of the Paulino Castillo gang.

The arrest warrant was issued on 11 February 2008 by Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein, while the formal accusation is contained in file 08-CRIM-111. The diplomatic note from the US Embassy was what motivated the extradition request of 9 January 2009.

Guevara Diaz is a native of Enriquillo, Barahona, but he lived in the exclusive sector of La Alameda in Santo Domingo, and had been previously arrested on 4 March 1995 with a stash of 953 kilograms of cocaine and again with another 552 kilograms on 23 March of the same year. On 19 June 2006 he was captured for having ties with the 1,387 kilos that were seized from Paulino Castillo, but he was later released.

The Prosecutor said that this was a decision that came after the plea bargaining. The prosecutor for the National District, Alejandro Moscoso Segarra said that after the plea bargain worked out with the federal prosecutors in New York with the former Army captain Paulino Castillo, this is the first decision against one of the persons implicated in the case that was being requested in extradition.

Moscoso Segarra said that a no time was it agreed to withdraw the accusation of laundering money from drug trafficking against Guevara Diaz.

He said that it is now the job of the Prosecutor's office to handle any request forwarded by the American authorities with relation to the Quirino case. The appeal filed in the Second Chamber of the Appeals Court will be heard next Thursday in the money laundering case.
20090217 http://www.diariolibre.com

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