Record drug haul off Saona island
Santo Domingo.- A cocaine shipment with an estimated value of US$22 million was intercepted by the National Drug Control Department (DNCD) early Wednesday morning off the coast of Saona Island. The 1,638 packages weighing 1,909 kilograms were found on a fast launch and represent the largest haul so far this year, according to the DNCD chief, Major General Rolando Rosado Mateo.
Two Colombian men were detained when the shipment was discovered, and later in the day a third man was arrested on the island. It is believed that at least one remaining member of the group, described by the authorities as heavily armed, is still in hiding. A military contingent made up of members of the Navy, Air Force special forces and the DNCD are searching for the fugitives.
“An intercepting speedboat and a Navy Coastguard vessel, a US Coastguard vessel and a DNCD launch took part in the operation, which began at approximately 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday evening and ended in the early hours of Wednesday”, said Rosado Mateo.
He added that “the speedboat that was transporting the drugs was stranded on the beach at Saona after being surrounded by the units that took part in the operation. The crew abandoned ship but two were detained, both of Colombian nationality.”
One of the men in custody was named as Andrés Ramírez Quiroz.
The authorities also confiscated an automatic weapon, three outboard engines and 25 fuel tanks. The launch was towed to the Sans Souci Naval Base in Santo Domingo before being handed over to the DNCD.
Category: DR News |