Local May 14, 2015 | 8:34 am

Dominican pastor laundered drug ring’s dirty money: Colombia

Santo Domingo.- The Attorney General of Colombia confirmed Wednesday that the ‘Clan Úsuga’ drug trafficking ring used a Dominican clergyman and an evangelical church in the Dominican Republic to launder money from their activities.

"According to the investigation, this man, using his position as leader of a Christian sect, acquiring assets abroad in exchange for large sums of money sent to Dominican Republic disguised as offerings from parishioners," said Colombia’s Attorney General in a statement.

The ‘Clan Úsuga’ forms part of the ‘Los Urabeños’ cartel which stems from a paramilitary group associated with the now weakened ‘Cartel Norte del Valle,’ with several drug shipments to Dominican Republic detected in recent months.

‘Los Urabeños’ even recruited part of the structure involved in the case of seven Colombians executed at Paya, Bani (south), after which several of the convicts have been released.

In the Antinarcotics Agency’s (DNCD) files also figure a number of cocaine shipments confiscated from the violent criminal group.

Colombian authorities added that Dominican pastor Jorge Mercedes Cedeño interacted between Dominican Republic and Colombia, using his "religious leader" status to launder large amounts of money registered as "alms from the faithful."

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