Major Dominican drug case strikes fear in East region judges
Santo Domingo.- The loss of a case file linked to Spaniard Ricardo Conde Diez, who has just been sentenced in his country to seven years in prison for drug trafficking, uncovers a fear by three judges of Higuey (east) who’ve refused to proceed with the indictment against five alleged members of his ring.
Outlet diariolibre.com reports that the narrative figures in a letter to the Supreme Court by Justice Ministry Anti-money Laundering Unit director Germán Miranda, ??who requested an investigation
The case file on the Spaniard, who fled the country after authorities seized 20 properties including lots, luxurious villas, businesses, residences, apartments in Uvero Alto, and even a plane. “The Justice Ministry says the judge handling the case, Vanessa Contreras, had to set another hearing for May 7 on the grounds that the file was lost."
Miranda notes that prosecutors seek to confiscate the seized properties for the State, for which he’s asks an investigation of the case.
He said Spain’s cooperation in the case has led to the identification of properties in the Dominican Republic since 2009, as part of the money laundering case against Venezuela national Ruben Santos Ortega, in which Conde was indicted later.
He argues that as a result of the provision of cooperation were investigated Dominicans who allegedly support arm in the country of Ramos Ortega or Diez Conde, and he managed to hide assets and placing criminal organization on behalf of themselves and their families.
The official said the prosecution unsealed the indictment at La Altagracia province Instruction Court against Manuel Merilio Quezada Gómez, Peggy Josefina Quiñonez Irrizarry, Joaquín Eugenio Contreras Hixon, María Teresa Calle Rueda yand Sonia Mercado, in the first hearing held April 20, 2012, but Judge Yohan Carlos Morales declared the accused in contempt. Calle later pleaded guilty in plea bargaining with the prosecution.
Miranda said the San Pedro Court of Appeals appointed judge Edwis Rijo Delgado to the case after the previous judge stepped down. Rijo had set hearing for August 6, 2014, but also recused himself during the trial.
The San Pedro Court then assigned judge Karuchi Sotero Cabral to the case, but also recused herself just after a few months.
The case is now in the hands of judge Vanessa Contreras, who had set the hearing for April 16.
Its vast coastline, billions of dollars in tourism infrastructure and a major international airport make Higuey an attractive target from drug traffickers and money launderers, where judges, police officials and prosecutors become instant millionaires.