| 16 DIC 2009, 12:00 AM

DNCD Arrests more than 30 for Punta Cana drugs

Five bags from plane are missing

SANTO DOMINGO. The National Department for Drug Control reported yesterday that they had arrested 32 persons, among them the crew and two of the passengers that arrived in Punta Cana on Sunday. They arrived on a plane with Venezuelan registration, and with 58 packages of cocaine. One person is still a fugitive.

Investigators from the DNCD found that together with the three suitcases that contained the drugs, there were another five that have not been accounted for.

The detainees were identified as Kenneth Mendez, Gustavo Armaig Martinez, the pilot and co-pilot of the aircraft, as well as Amilcar Ridriguez and Barbara Susana who arrived at the Punta Cana Terminal at 8:55 a.m. last Sunday, according to the DNCD.

Meanwhile, another 18 persons, among military and civilian employees of different institutions are arrested in relation with the landing of the airplane, which was said to have touched down three times so far this December. Due to the facility with which the aircraft and the passengers left, it is presumed that there are accomplices involved.

The spokesperson for the DNCD, Roberto Lebron, did not specify the place where the foreigners were captured, limiting his comments to "they are now in the hands of the authorities and in the next few hours they will be submitted to coercive measures.". They still need to arrest Franklin Antonio Armada, according to Lebron.

These persons arrived at Punta Cana and off-loaded their suitcases, without being checked, leaving two suitcases with 58 packages of cocaine in the luggage compartment of the plane, drugs that this Tuesday were sent to the forensic lab for analysis. "All the personnel that worked the shift when the plane landed and debarked its passengers are under arrest," he said.

Among these are the members of the DNCD detachment and the Specialized Corps for Airport Security (CESA), who were arrested as the first measure taken by Major General Rolando Rosado Mateo, the head of the DNCD, who ordered the arrest of his local personnel.

The plane on which the drugs were transported is Venezuelan registered, with tail number YV-2058. It will be moved shortly to the San Isidro Air Base, by order of the high ranking Police official, according to the report that was released by Lebron in a press communiqué. The plane's flight originated in Valencia, Venezuela.

The case is in the hands of the assistant prosecutor Elizabeth Rijo Rijo. The plane had landed at Punta Cana on the 5th and 8th of this month, which broadens the suspicion that it could have brought in other loads of drugs that were not detected.

Regarding Prevalco

In the meantime, the DNCD spokesman, Roberto Lebron, sais that there is no proof that implicates the business known as Prevalgo S.A. with the 83 kilograms that arrived at the AILA from Colombia.

Lebron said that yesterday the CPUs, where the drugs were discovered, were ordered delivered to the business. Meanwhile, the investigation goes forward.

The detachment is removed

Yesterday, the entire detachment of the DNCD at Punta Cana was removed and the members sent to their respective armed service due to the fact that this was the fifth time that this aircraft had landed at Punta Cana, parked in the VIP area and on all the occasions its crews left without being checked. The group that will be taken out of the encampment includes members of the CESA.
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