Local November 1, 2012 | 8:14 am

Retired admiral was deep into drug underworld, officials say

SANTO DOMINGO.- Retired general Francisco Antonio Hiraldo Guerrero, who was the National Drug Control Agency’s (DNCD) chief of operations, kept ties with the criminal structure of ex Dominican Army captain Quirino Paulino after the latter’s extradition.

The retired admiral, wanted on narcotics charges filed in New York Southern District Court continued doing business with Paulino’s associates, including Bienvenido Ernesto Guevara Diaz (Maconi), extradited to the U.S. in July 2009 .

Hiraldo was placed on retirement from the Navy on August 20, 2009, by then Chief of staff Homero Luis Lajara Sola.

The ex official spent 14 years in various DNCD positions, including chief operating officer from 2006 to 2008.

The ex official allegedly provided protection for large cocaine shipments to more than one ring of drug traffickers, whether entering the country or subsequent smuggling to the United States.

Cat and mouse

In the news conference to announce Hiraldo’s extradition, Attorney General Francisco Domínguez said it’s regretful that a man entrusted with pursuing traffickers has to pursued in turn. "Necessarily, sometimes those who give pursuit must be pursued."

Payments

The official said the ex official charged traffickers for "his collaboration" using his DNCD post, both in money and in drugs.

Dominguez said one of the four witnesses revealed that from 2007 to 2009 Hiraldo took part in around 25 shipments with an average of 400 kilos of cocaine each, pocketing US$100,000 per trip.

For a case of a 700 kilo shipment, instead of getting paid in cash, ex official allegedly received a part of the drug, which he then sent to the U.S. for an ever bigger cut.

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