Local December 31, 2014 | 4:35 pm

Dominican Republic Police ends a year fraught with scandal

Santo Domingo.- "This Dican criminal case is much more serious than what’s been published," warned Police chief Manuel Castro Wednesday on the more than 1,200 kilos of cocaine seized and not reported by agents of the Police Narcotics Div. (Dican), where it “vanished.”

"Everyone who’s involved will be fired and brought to justice," Castro said. He said several senior officers have been arrested, but didn’t reveal names in the case.

The recently-removed Dican director Col. Carlos Fernández is at the center of the case of drugs seized and not reported to superiors.

The scandal rocked the National Police even further Wednesday when it announced that Fernandez was to be replaced by Col. Francisco E. Bloise, who had been sentenced to two years in prison in 2006, convicted of embezzling US$44,422 in a human trafficking case.

"I neither protect nor will protect anyone, anyone who got themselves in this mess will be fired and brought to justice, whoever falls, because the police have no obligation toward anyone," said Castro in his office Wednesday morning, quoted by El Nacional, which first broke the case.

"My tenure is transparent, facing the sun, so I asked prosecutor Francisco Dominguez Brito to appoint two deputy prosecutors to expand the investigation, not just act on police investigations,” the official said.

Quoting another source in security agencies, the outlet said a report has been submitted to president Danilo Medina, the US Embassy and the US Drugs Enforcement Administration (DEA), in the scandal which sparked the investigation after more than 1,200 kilos of cocaine were seized during raids in various parts of the country, but which Dican commanders failed to report.

US$67.5 million and the “megadiva”

The value of the drug seized by Dican agents but never reported is worth RD$3.5 billion (US$67.5 million), El Nacional said, adding that the probe now shifts to a TV "megadiva" who would’ve benefited from the sale of the drugs in the case linked to Col. Fernández. “She had acquired an X6 SUV (BMW) and an apartment on Mexico Av., as investigators have called her in for questioning. She was contacted.”

Year of scandal

2014 will go down as a year of major scandals for the National Police, which besides the usual allegations of shakedowns, cases of deadly shootouts explained away as “exchange of gunfire” were common; the firing of senior officers including colonels and at least one general on unspecified offenses, and the controversial release on bond of Police Col. Johan Liriano, linked to alleged drug traffickers and hired killers.

On August 12 Castro said Liriano’s release is the result of "our weak Justice" in the Dominican Republic.

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