Local June 19, 2012 | 9:14 am

Loophole allows return of properties seized from traffickers

SANTO DOMINGO.- Several drug traffickers convicted in the United States after extradition from Dominican Republic are demanding the return of their properties in the country, claiming the sentences in U.S. courts didn’t call their confiscation.

Most of them have been released on technicalities since Dominican law stipulates that to pave way for their extradition the prosecution had to drop the local cases against them.

The cases in which the authorities have been able to retain the seized assets are those where drug traffickers, after returning home, didn’t seek court rulings to recover them; where the Supreme Court ruling includes seizures, or where there is a legal agreement between the accused and U.S. and Dominican authorities.

Among the most important cases figure the drug trafficker and bachata singer Jose Arismendy Almonte-Peña (Joselito.com), who returned home in 2010 after serving several years in a Puerto Rico prison, and now demands the return of properties worth millions, some of which are currently occupied by institutions working to rehabilitate addicts.

As to Luis Eduardo Rodriguez Cordero (Eddie), also linked to the case of ex Dominican Army captain Quirino Paulino, the ex convict has also demanded the return of seized properties.

Quoted by eldia.com.do, the lawyer Jaime Terrero, who represented ex Police colonel Lidio Arturo Nin Terrero and Tirso Cuevas Nin, both linked to Paulino and who’ve been released after doing time in the U.S., said if the court which ruled for extradition didn’t order the confiscation of their properties, the prosecution must return them.

The Maconi case

The same situation is faced by alleged drug trafficker Ernesto Bienvenido Guevara Diaz (Maconi and El cuñao), extradited to the United States in 2010, and where the ruling to extradite him didn’t order the confiscation of his property, for which the man also linked to Paulino can claim his properties once he returns from U.S. soil.

Paulino’s assets

A 2008 agreement between Paulino and U.S. authorities, which led to protection for more than one dozen members of his family, included the confiscation of Dominican Republic properties valued at US$14.5 million.

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