Local February 14, 2014 | 8:44 am

Memo casts doubt over notorious drug lords’ release

Santo Domingo.- Drug trafficking convict Quirino Paulino has yet to be sentenced on any of the 20 counts, as evidenced by New York South District Court documents, registered as "USA v. Castillo et al."

The information contradicts reports in most of the country’s media, some of which even reported of his release and “imminent return to the Dominican Republic.”

Of the 111 documents in Paulino’s case file (1:04-cr-01353-KMW-1) dated December 21, 2004, 41 have been classified, mainly those submitted between January 26, 2009, and February 4 this year.

The last public document in the conviction is a memo submitted to judge Kimba M. Wood on January 10, 2014 by Paulino’s lawyer Lawrence F. Ruggiero, who seeks a sentence of no more than 10 years for his client, claiming that during the nine years of pre-trial detention, Paulino "endured years of inferior health care in the MCC (Metropolitan Correctional Center)," where he withstood frequent periods of agonizing pain, and finally the loss of hearing in one ear.

He affirms that Paulino’s condition is such that he must be operated to avert major damage to his skull and brain.

The memo, which was heavily redacted after the judge partially accepted Ruggiero’s request to classify it, contains "very sensitive" information about Paulino’s collaboration with authorities and about his health, for which the lawyer argues that nine years in prison under those conditions are the same as 20 years in prison in a federal facility.

Ruggiero also asked Wood to consider the period during which Paulino was jailed in the Dominican Republic as time served, from his arrest December 18, 2004, to his extradition on February 19, 2005.

In the document, the attorney adds that Paulino’s family "has been subjected to illegal confiscations of their property by the Dominican Government, accusations and convictions without base, death threats and prolonged harassment and intimidation."

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