Local December 11, 2012 | 11:29 am

Dominican, U.S. agencies announce major drug bust at sea

Santo Domingo.- The National Drugs Control Agency (DNCD) today said it busted an international drug trafficking ring formed by Colombians and Dominicans, which smuggled large amounts of cocaine along the country’s southern and eastern coasts, and arrested four men, including an impresario of music bands, who’s also a recognized cockfighting enthusiast.

Ten packages of cocaine were seized aboard a boat off the coast of Bani during the operation, while the traffickers allegedly dumped another 800 packages at sea.

Those arrested were identified as the impresario Jose Calderon Rijo, alias " “La Araña” (The Spider), the Colombian Jose Alfonzo Morroi; Lalyis Alberto Sierra Ferrera and Aurelio Elizardo Hernandez Sanchez, who are being questioned at DNCD headquarters. "These are members of a structure that imported cocaine from Colombia."

"We are certain that at least 800 kilos had been dumped into at sea once we discovered the crew of the boat equipped with two outboard motors," DNCD president Rolando Rosado said in a statement.

He said the DNCD launched the operation that concluded 6:3AM. Monday, and included the United States Coast Guard, the Dominican Air Force, the Navy and the National Police.

He said the operation included the use of helicopters, Super Tucano intercept planes and boats, which spotted the 30-foot boat “Cherly,” 87 miles south of the coast. The agents seized 17 fuel tanks, a 12 gauge shotgun and a pistol, among other items.

The DNCD said Calderon is the group’s local ringleader, "who, to mislead the authorities posed as an impresario, especially in the arts and owner of gamecocks, plus a recognized lender in the city casinos. This man is known by the aliases "La Rana," (frog) "Burungo", "Tony" and "René."

Calderon "is a repeat offender who has been charged with drug trafficking in other opportunities, including July 22, 2003. He currently manages the bachata singer known as Yoskar Sarante and before that for a singer in the same genre called Allendy, among other vocalists," the DNCD said.

"He also owns the "Cockfighting team 24/7 " located in the sector Los Prados del Cachon, Santo Domingo East. This is a gambler heavily into well known cockpits of the capital, Santo Domingo, La Romana and Higuey, areas where the detainee has great influence. He’s a native of La Romana,” the DNCD said.

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