Local February 11, 2015 | 8:19 am

Murders uncover ‘mafia’ controls millions of dollars in subsidized fuels

Santo Domingo.- Councilman Eridson de los Santos (Ney) on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to charges of murdering at least six members of a rival union of bus owners, in a bizarre case that has uncovered little known links of a “mafia” that controls hundreds of millions of dollars of subsidized fuels monthly.

Two types of government "facilities" led de los Santos to amass a tidy fortune, as evidenced by his virtual mansion built within the impoverished bedroom community of Pedro Brand.

In the indictment unsealed yesterday, the National District Office of the Prosecutor cites documents seized during the raid of his residence and depositions from survivors of the deadly attacks in which at least six drivers were gunned down.

The millions of pesos in fuel subsidies have sprouted a mafia among union leaders, and the ensuing violent clashes such as in January, when one group accused another of contracting hired killers, to "sweep rival unions away."

The prosecution says De los Santos, who owns a company that sells fuel door-to-door, 20 kilometers north on the Duarte highway, forms part of the subsidized fuel mafia.

He also heads the fuel tankers grouped in Sotracor, one of the unions which receive four 4.1 million gallons of subsidized fuel each year, according to Industry and Commerce minister José del Castillo.

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