Local June 24, 2014 | 3:22 pm

Dominican Republic ‘bears the brunt’ of the Caribbean’s drug trafficking: Washington

Santo Domingo.-The jump in Caribbean’s drug trafficking from 5% in 2011 to 16% 2013 led the United States to bolster the area’s strategy on security including the exchange of data of the region’s police, including sharing information on detainees in the Dominican Republic, which “bears the brunt of the Caribbean’s drug trafficking.”

"I expect to see more data sharing systems to allow the national police of the Dominican Republic could enter in a database to verify if so-and-so has a criminal filed in Jamaica or Trinidad and Tobago or in Puerto Rico, without having to wait weeks or months for a formal communication by mail and the same in terms of ballistic information", said William Brownfield, deputy secretary of State for International Narcotics Affairs and law enforcement, during a videoconference Tuesday morning.

Brownfield revealed that during last week’s meeting with president Danilo Medina, U.S. vice president Joe Biden stated Washington’s you its concern with the threat posed by the reduced drug trafficking from South America, Mexico and Central America, would cause an increase in the traditional Caribbean routes including Dominican Republic.

He said Biden told Medina that as the result of the more than 40% fall in the U.S. demand for cocaine in the past seven years, the production and trafficking of cocaine from Colombia, Mexico and Central America fell nearly 50% in the same period, "but also admitted that all the progress in South America, Mexico and Central America represents a threat for the Caribbean."

Brownfield said the department he heads has spent US$10 million on the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) and has supported the installation of such a system in 12 Caribbean countries thus far, including Dominican Republic.

He also cited the Regional Integrated Ballistics Information Network (RIBIN) installed in 14 countries at a cost of US$500,000, while Canada provided an additional US$300,000.

Brownfield said they’ll work directly with the authorities at Dominican Republic’s ports. "The Dominican Republic probably bears the brunt of the Caribbean’s drug trafficking, and I admit it, the most in absolute terms, from the traffic of illicit drugs flowing through the Caribbean at this time.”

The U.S. official added that the strategies are included in the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), in which his department has contributed nearly US$150 million working jointly with other governments.

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