Local March 28, 2016 | 7:59 am

Dominican Republic antinarcotics slams judge for releasing suspects

Santo Domingo.- The National Drugs Control Agency (DNCD) on Sunday lashed out at an interim judge of LaRomana for releasing five Venezuelans arrested Thursday at La Romana InternationalAirport, with 359 kilos of cocaine allegedly brought on a plane from theircountry.

The surprising release of the Venezuelans is the latest scandalinvolving an interim judges in drug trafficking and money laundering cases,where bribes are suspected.

"The sentence which releases outright CarlosJustiniano, 55; Jorge Henriquez, 44; Gregory Frias, 23; Gerardo Diaz, 38, andJean Carlos Diaz, 35 handed down by Judge Aristida Mercedes is unfortunate,misleading and a stimulus for international drug trafficking and moneylaundering structures and bolsters their attempts to use the country as abridge to move drug shipments to the United States and Europe,” the DNCD saidin a statement.

It said the release encourages drug trafficking,significantly tarnishes the image of the Dominican justice, "which as wehave said, it is committed to healthier interests, but a few, with actions likethis, do a disservice to society," the DNCD said.

The first four defendants were arrested at La RomanaInternational Airport and the drug was seized inside a Cessna C404 airplane, registryYV2708, from Barquisimeto, Venezuela.

The drug was in 349 bricks in three suitcases and two bagshidden on the plane, the DNCD said, adding that the arrests were the result ofseveral weeks of vigilance of the network.

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