Narcos from the South use “playeros”
According to data from the National Directorate for Drug Control (DNCD), between mid-2020 and February of this year 2023, at least 84 boats linked to drug trafficking on the country’s coasts have been intercepted, 51% (43) in 2022. On the Dominican coast, 33,381 kilograms of cocaine have been seized, representing 62% of the total amount of that drug seized, amounting to 54,102 kilograms. In the last six months, coastal seizures reached 3,789 kilograms of cocaine, which represents 11% of the total seized on the coasts and 7% of the general total in the country during the period.
The coastal areas where more boats with drugs are captured are: Enriquillo, in Barahona; followed by the beaches of Peravia (Baní), Santo Domingo Este, Boca Chica and Punta Cana, the Bayahíbe area, and the Palmilla and Isla Saona beaches, the coasts of San Pedro de Macorís, Azua and the area of Pedernales, Oviedo and the island Beata.
“In the southern coastal areas, mainly Barahona and Pedernales, it is common for fishermen to participate together with drug traffickers in managing landing logistics. The level of involvement is such that they act as forward guards to announce the presence using a code with which they identify the DNCD. Some even become captains or are part of the crew of the boats that transport cocaine from the coasts of South America to the country, which is why it is common that when the boats are captured, among those arrested there are one or two Dominicans as part of the crew,” a source said. According to the report delivered, some fishermen have abandoned their usual work to wait and rescue drug caches that regularly arrive dragged by sea currents to the beaches of the Barahona and Pedernales coasts, This occurs after boats are sinking or abandoned at sea when drug traffickers are being pursued by local authorities.
When the “players” (as they are known in the area) collect the drug from the coast, it is bought at a price below the market by “the godfathers.” “A manifestation of how drug trafficking is affecting the lives of the residents of these southern coastal areas is the display of wealth by some beachgoers, merchants, displaying luxurious residences, expensive clothing, and expensive vehicles that contrast with the environment of poverty that characterizes the towns of that region”, they indicate.