Local November 29, 2012 | 8:25 am

N.Y. grand jury to hand down indictments in Quirino Paulino case

NEW YORK.- A South District Court federal grand jury is expected to convene in the next few weeks in the case of a new group of alleged international drug traffickers charged with money laundering and conspiracy, linked to ex Dominican Army captain Quirino Paulino, being held in a federal detention center for nearly seven years.

A court source quoted by elnuevodiario.com.do said the grand jury has received files of former senior military officers of former president Leonel Fernandez’s three administrations, as well as those of business and political leaders, for possible extraditions requested by the U.S. Justice Department.

As to the politicians, U.S. authorities would gauge their ability to undermine the Caribbean nation’s political system, as well as those of major political and national public figures, to keep them under surveillance but without seeking their extradition.

According to the source, the grand jury would hand down an indictment of the group, but some would be tried while others would enter plea bargaining, prior to issuing arrest warrants, and extradition requests to the Dominican authorities.

They said the members of the grand jury were to gather by no later than yearend or early January.

Quirino, still being held in Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, has been taken to hearings in the same court 39 times, while documents remain sealed and little information has surfaced on the progress of the cause.

The former military officer, extradited in early 2005 and charged along with 20 others, entered plea bargaining that included witness protections for around 15 of his relatives, who were whisked off to the U.S.

Of the accused on the list, Ernesto Bienvenido Guevara Diaz (Maconi), and Faustino Perozo, among others have been extradited by the Dominican government.

Guevara, extradited in early 2009, is charged with coordinating the transport of the 1,387 kilos of cocaine seized by the DEA in December 2004 in a truck owned by Paulino and supposedly headed to a Free Zone park in Santiago, whose owner is allegedly on of the north region’s industrial moguls.

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