UK fills void left by US in Dominican Republic’s war on drugs
Santo Domingo.- Faced with slashed assistance from the US to fight drug trafficking in the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean countries, the UK’s National Criminal Investigation Bureau donated high tech equipment with which the antinarcotics agency (DNCD) can deal with spiraling drug shipments headed to Europe.
The UK announced the creation of a new tool to counter international drug trafficking networks that use vessels which enter or depart from national ports before transshipping drugs in international waters destined for European ports.
The Maritime Intelligence Team (IMT) is a unit that will operate as a branch of the Joint Information and Coordination Center to identify and monitor suspicious vessels such as yachts or sailboats smuggle drugs from South America.
The US had reduced its logistic support in the region and focused resources on “Operation Hammer” in Central American countries.
Last year the country became the 17th member state of the UK initiative "Lactitud" program.
Nick Fowler, NCA liaison officer with the DNCD, headed delivery of equipment and lauded the local agency’s importance in the international war on maritime drug trafficking, given Dominican Republic’s geographical location.
DNCD president Julio C. Souffront and UK NCA representative Maggie Titmuss signed the cooperation agreement.