Local February 2, 2011 | 8:58 am

Once sleepy Dominican towns become smuggler’s paradise

Sabana de la Mar, Dominican Republic. – Remnants of the ring allegedly headed by Ramon del Rosario Puente (Toño Leña) in the East region are smuggling large amounts of drugs and guns from Puerto Rico along the coast using speedboats, turning the once sleepy towns Miches and Sabana de la Mar into major contraband centers.

The alleged smuggling has spurred the inhabitants of the two Samana Bay towns to request the transfer of the Antinarcotics (DNCD) agents they say don?t do anything to halt the traffic and consumption of drugs in that part of Hato Mayor province.

Representatives of Sabana de la Mar told the prosecutor Manuel Emilio Santana that the municipality?s main problem is drug trafficking and that the DNCD agents do nothing to confront it.

They say that from the coasts the drugs are transported to the rural communities La Gina, La Culebra de Miches, as well as in Magua, La Loma, Las Cañitas and Capitan.

The townspeople say from those communities, the drugs and guns are then taken along trails through the ruggen Magua Mountain until Yabón in Vicentillo of El Seibo, where people driving luxury SUVs receive them on the banks of the Yabón river, and from there taken to Santo Domingo and other parts of the East region.

It was learned around 4 months ago that top brand pistols are being for as little as 8,000 pesos in barrios of El Seibo and Hato Mayor, and that drugs are being sold even in front of the Miches police precinct, whose agents don?t act out of fear of reprisal.

Meanwhile in the Sabana de la Mar barrio La Aviacion, drug traffickers have set up an ?operations center? and have even challenged Police and DNCD agents, who can?t enter it at any hour.