Investigations continue into murder of hit man in San Cristobal
The head of the National Police, Manuel Castro Castillo, has announced that the hit man found dead in Yaguate, San Cristobal on Monday 16 September, Juan Felix Cordero Febles (Copelin) was responsible for the murder of around 50 people involved in drug cartels in the country. Copelin is believed to have been killed in a dispute between rival drug groups operating in the east of the country. El Dia reports today, Wednesday 25 September that rival groups were fighting over control of territory in the eastern region after the murder of Alfredo Rodriguez (Nino Pata Corta) in 2010 and the arrest and extradition of Antonio del Rosario Puente (Tono Lena) in 2011.
The Police chief, who was the police commander in the east at the time of his appointment to head the National Police earlier this year, said that Copelin was one of the main hit men used by drug dealers and organized crime in the Dominican Republic and he was employed by several criminal groups, drug dealers and other criminals throughout the country.
Castro Castillo said that on several occasions Copelin had been arrested for murder, carrying firearms and drugs offences and whilst the rest of his gang had been arrested, he had been on the run for the murder of two people last March, reportedly for drug-related debts.
He said that the investigations into his death were at an advanced stage and a team from the public prosecution service and police investigators was working to discover who was implicated in his death.
Copelin’s body was discovered along with two other bodies, of police sergeant Santos Luis Mendez Sepulveda and driver Abraham de los Santos, on Monday 16 September in Yaguate. In a new development over the weekend, it now appears he was murdered in a house on a ranch that used to belong to Lieutenant Colonel Johan Emilio Liriano Sanchez, who served as assistant to the former National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) chief Rolando Rosado Mateo, and is a former head of operations of the DNCD.
As reported, Lieutenant Colonel Johan Emilo Liriano Sanchez had sold the property for about for US$136,000 to Lorenzo Guzman Martinez just four months ago.
The house is in the village of El Puerto, in Santa Maria in the province of San Cristobal and the authorities say they have now found irrefutable evidence that Cordero Febles was killed there.
The police now think that he was killed by one of his most trusted men, known only as “El Maetrico” and are now trying to establish the links between the former officer and the now owners of the property, who apparently bought it from his wife.
On Monday 23 September, Lieutenant Colonel John Emilio Liriano Sanchez was placed under arrest in San Cristobal whilst authorities investigated his links to the murders.
The Higher Police Board had recommended a dishonorable discharge for Liriano Sanchez together with 11 other officers and enlisted men, but he was still working as the recommendation had not yet been ratified by the Executive Branch. Liriano Sanchez was arrested in a luxury apartment in the Evaristo Morales area of the National District where euros and US dollars, running into millions, were said to have been found in a wardrobe. El Caribe reports that although his salary was RD$18,000 per month, he had purchased the apartment valued at RD$10 million.
As well as being special assistant to the then head of the Drug Control Agency (DNCD), Liriano Sanchez also served as head of the DNCD at Las Americas International Airport where, in December 2011, he reportedly threatened four journalists that he would fabricate arrest warrants for drug dealing if they continued to publish news about unauthorized operations at the airport.
Former DNCD chief Major General Rolando Rosado has defended Liriano Sanchez saying that the arguments being used by the Higher Police Council for his removal result from a 2011 libel case that was duly cleared by the authorities at the time. Rosado Mateo and Liriano visited the offices of El Dia newspaper yesterday, Tuesday 24 September only a few hours after the report that he had been arrested on the grounds that a hit man, Juan Cordero, had been murdered on a ranch that he used to own. Rosado Mateo said he was defending Liriano because of his work maintaining the helicopter he flew when he served as head of the DNCD, and for his other roles at the DNCD. Liriano has argued legit side jobs enabled him to maintain his spending status, as reported in El Dia.
Category: DR News |