Dominican Justice authorities reported this Sunday that they dismantled a “transnational network of organized crime dedicated to the smuggling of migrants” with a final destination in the United States, and that they arrested seven of its members in various northern provinces of the country.
The operation, led by the Special Prosecutor’s Office Against the Illicit Smuggling of Migrants and Human Trafficking (PETT), took place on Saturday and had the support of the Sánchez Ramírez Prosecutor’s Office (north) in coordination with the Specialized Division for Investigation against Crimes migratory (Deidem).
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In the operation, Juan Bautista García, Felipe Sánchez Vásquez, Williams Batista Peña, Brian Rosario Fernández, Manuel Castillo Coronado, Justino del Carmen Abreu Romero and Victoriano Aracena Tapia were arrested, while Henri Reyes Muñoz is a fugitive.
The Public Ministry will request 18 months of preventive detention against those arrested in the Permanent Attention Court of the Judicial District of Sánchez Ramírez, in addition to requesting that the case be declared complex.
According to the department, the group was part of “an organized criminal network that used falsified travel documents to smuggle migrants” along the routes of Haiti, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, the Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guatemala, having as final destination entry into the United States.
For these transnational illegal trafficking operations, the members of this network charged amounts of up to 15,000 dollars for each migrant, PETT added in a document.
Upon being arrested in 12 raids carried out in the provinces of La Vega, Espaillat, Sánchez Ramírez and Santiago, those investigated were seized with fraudulent passports, visas from different countries, vehicles, computers, cell phones, firearms and ammunition “that prove their direct participation” in this structure of organized crime.
“People linked to criminal acts frequently used the services of this organization to leave the country and thus evade criminal prosecution,” said the agency dependent on the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR).