Local May 10, 2016 | 3:32 pm

Kingpin’s return reveals Dominican Republic-US drug war disconnect

Santo Domingo.- Former Antinarcotics (DNCD) operationschief Francisco Antonio Hiraldo, who served time on a major drug traffickingconviction, was released and sent to the country by the US without evennotifying Dominican authorities.

Hiraldo, who convicted of using his post to help ship thousandsof kilos of cocaine into the US, set foot on Dominican soil “like a tourist whospent a holiday in the America,” comments outlet eldia.com.do.

In addition to the lack of information on the arrival of theex-con –who spent nearly four years in prison-, Dominican authorities also don’thave in their possession any of the details of Hiraldo’s plea bargaining with USJustice.

"He came and nobody knew anything nor do we know aboutthe sentence. That’s how they arrange things and I’m sick and tine ofindicating that there’s a State obligation for them to exchange information andat least tell us when those convicts are coming and send us a copy of the sentence,"a senior prosecutor complained.

The prosecutor said Hiraldo should’ve been dispatched bythe US Dept. of Justice and not by Immigration, since the former official is anextraditable.

Adding to the disconnect is the fact that the former senor officerhas no charges pending in Dominican Justice, because the Office of the Prosecutorhad dropped the case in order to facilitate his extradition.

Rap sheet

For over a decade the former senior official headed DNCD operationsand tipped off drug trafficking networks so they could move huge shipments ofcocaine into the Dominican territory and then to US territory.

Since Hiraldo held the rank of colonel it was easy for himto "sell" his services as informant and charge thousands of dollars.

The former Navy officer was arrested in 2012 after formerArmy officers Quirino Paulino and Carlos Rossó Peña allegedly provided informationto US prosecutors into their operations for drug traffickers. He was extraditedto the US in April, 2013.

The lack of cooperation was also evident in a similar case,involving the also kingpin Francisco Antonio del Rosario Puente (Toño Leña),who despite his conviction in Puerto Rico over major shipments of narcotics andsuspected of several murders-for-hire, only served five years and was returnedto the Dominican Republic.

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