Local July 22, 2014 | 2:28 pm

U.S. deploys air patrol craft to help Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo. – At the Dominican Government’s request the United States on Tuesday announced the deployment of a new aircraft to bolster the capacity for air patrols and surveillance over the country’s coasts.

“The aircraft known as DHC – 8 (Dash 8) are regular profile civilian aircraft designed for the specific tasks to identify, monitor and intercept the traffickers of illicit substances and are intended to support local operations in accordance with Dominican and international laws relating to the detection, monitoring, and how to counter drug trafficking operations,” the U.S. Embassy said in an emailed statement.

It said as a result of the joint efforts by Washington and Santo Domingo and the use of this new resource, 1,360 kilos of marijuana valued at US$15 million have been seized, along with three boats, and five people arrested.

“Equipped with of high capacity sensors, the Dash 8 improve maritime patrol capability in the Dominican Republic and the United States, offering accurate and real-time information to police agents who can in turn identify perpetrators of illicit traffic, intercepting and capturing traffickers,” the Embassy said, noting that smuggling poses a threat to the safety and well-being of all countries, and a destabilizing influence over regional and national security.

It said law enforcement agencies and international and U.S. military branches work together on airspace, territorial and maritime vigilance and prevent illicit traffickers from using smuggling routes. “This effort involves close cooperation with the Dominican Republic, sharing information, training and exchange of experts, and improving communication and interoperability.”

“The Government of the United States is committed to working closely with the Dominican Republic and other Western Hemisphere nations to join multinational efforts against the spread of transnational organized crime responsible for trafficking drugs and other illicit cargo, which only leaves widespread corruption as a consequence in its path,” the U.S. Embassy said.

It adds that improving the security of the Western Hemisphere’s nations is an important component of the U.S. Southern Command’s regional security effort, and of the White House’s strategy to fight transnational organized crime.

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