Taking Sobeida's picture was not easy

  • "I got the image because I was in the exact spot at the exact moment"
LAS AMERICAS AIRPORT. There were some17 minutes under a torrential downpour, waiting for the door of the United States airplane, tail number N831JP, to open. The first to get off was the pilot, with a very unfriendly face. Then came the District Attorney for the National District, Alejandro Moscoso, followed by Frank Soto the National Director for the Persecution and Complex Crimes.

From the expression on the District Attorney, whom I greeted but he turned his back, it seemed like my presence was not welcome there on the tarmac, some 300 meters from the terminal, beside the airplane that had brought Sobeida Felix Morel back to the country.

Since the door of the plane was open, I could see that Sobeida was putting on makeup and I tried to take her picture with my little digital camera, but I got my first reproach. "You can't be here", the District Attorney Moscoso Segarra said, and this was backed by Frank Soto. I played dumb and in order not to create an incident, I stepped back a few meters.

Five minutes later several members of the Specialized Corps of Airport Security (CESA) arrived, and I was surprised that none of them carried weapons.

"The Americans" arrive

Some seven minutes passed when I saw the approach of two "van-like" vehicles, with officials from the United States Embassy.

At this moment thing got difficult for me, because from one of the vehicles white, blond and sweaty person got out, with no identification. By the accent I noted that he was not Dominican.

The "American" told me that I could not be there, and I told him that "yes, I could" because I had a badge that allowed me to be in this part of the airport and I was assigned by the Diario Libre in the place where a very important news event is taking place.

The man insisted that I leave I leave the area. I showed him my identification from the airport authorities that authorized me to be in this part, and I asked him to show me his authorization. Since he was doubtful and I was not doubtful, I went on the offensive and called out: "I want to tell you that I am a Dominican, accredited by a Dominican newspaper and with an airport badge and you cannot even identify yourself!"

At this moment the members of the personal security guard of the District Attorney and theAnti-Terror Unit of the Armed Forces arrived in a rush from the San Isidro Air Base where the plane was supposed to land.

The "American" recovered and kept on insisting, and called one of the soldiers to remove me for the area, but at that very moment a DEA agent that was placing a bullet-proof jacket, a protective helmet and handcuffs on Sobeida and was getting ready to disembark from the plane, that that automatically all of the attention centered on the steps of the aircraft.

The hustle bustle

Like magic, they forgot about me and formed a circle around Sobeida, so I placed myself in line with where the vehicles that would take her to Najayo were parked.

By luck, the big guy with the jacket and tie and that belongs to the personal security detail of the DA of the National District, made a quick turn back, which allowed the only photograph of the most wanted woman in the Dominican Republic.

It was just one shot, because if I did not get out of the way I was in deep trouble, really deep.

It was a piece of luck, because I have to say that I would have been quietly at my home if just before, from the press room of the Diario Libre, my boss Nelson Rodriguez had not told me to go "flying" out to the airport precisely in search of this much mentioned and distributed image that I got because I was in the exact spot at just the right moment.
20100723 http://www.diariolibre.com

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