Local October 30, 2015 | 9:21 am

Drug, gun trafficking prompts purge in Dominican military

Santo Domingo.- The Presidencyon Thursday placed an Air Force general and five colonels in forced retirement,for alleged links with drug trafficking and gun smuggling networks.

Another 22 officersfigure on a list recommended for dismissal on links to drug trafficking, but doesn’tspecify whether they’ll be charged and have the opportunity to prove theirinnocence.

Gen. Bienvenido CorderoBatista, along with other officers, is reportedly being investigated by a UnitedStates law enforcement agency for alleged international weapons trafficking.

The fired now formersenior officers include Col. Andres Francisco Reyes Ortiz and Lt. colonelsCesar David Ruiz Garcia, Julia Inés Paulino Santos, Mario Antonio JimenezJimenez and Moises Emmanuel Rojas Perez, who´s the son of former Armed ministerForces Juan Bautista Rojas Tabar.

The colonels wereinvestigated by a board of general officers which recommended their discharge, oncetheir alleged involvement in the felonies was confirmed, according to Air ForceGeneral Order No.52-15 issued Wednesday.

Col. Francisco OrtizReyes was discharged after being caught with his son and former private AndresReyes Vargas and others while receiving a shipment of 338 kilos of cocaine in westernBarahona province, in a joint operation by the DEA of the US and the DNCD.

Similarly, Lt. Col.Cesar David Ruiz García, assigned to the DNCD, was fired on charges of using hispost to coordinate with other officers and enlistees large amounts of drugsthrough Punta Cana Airport, and who were paid US$10,000.

Also fired were Lt.Col. Manuel Cuevas Gonzales, a senior commander of the Joint Interagency TaskForce, charged with coordinating the arrival of drug shipments from SouthAmerica by sea.

The cancellation order saysCol. Gonzales bribed other officers and enlistees to shirk their duty, while hemaintained in contact with drug trafficking organizations.

Also fired was Lt. Col.Julia Inés Paulino Santos, head of CICC-DNCD investigations, charged with receivingRD$200,000 and US$8,000, to omit from the files the names two officers linkedto 43 packages of cocaine seized Oct. 17. She´s also accused, along with othermilitary, of helping an alleged cocaine-trafficking network that sent “mules” abroadthrough various airports

Lt. Col. Mario AntonioJimenez, also assigned to the DNCD, was fired for allegedly coordinating thearrival and departure of large shipments of cocaine through various ports andairports.

He was also accused ofbribing other soldiers to allow him to maintain links with renowned Dominicannarcotics traffickers, according to the FARD general order.

Another Lt. Col. fired foralleged ties to drug trafficking is Moises Emmanuel Rojas Perez, allegedly linkedto a case of 22 kilos of cocaine headed to France via Las Americas Airport,where he was temporarily assigned to the DNCD.

A Defense Ministry Intelligence(J-2) source quoted by Acento.com.do affirms that 22 other officers who hadbeen assigned to the DNCD were investigated and will be placed on forcedretirement.

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