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Quirino is back in the Dominican Republic

For the past two weeks, the 54-year old convicted drug trafficker and former army colonel Quirino Ernesto Paulino Castillo (known as “Quirino”) has been captivating national audiences with his calls to radio shows to collect on a debt former President Leonel Fernandez allegedly owes him for his “investment” in Fernandez’s political campaign after the Baninter financial crash. There were some doubts that the caller was really Quirino.

Then on Sunday, 1 March 2015, the news media announced that Quirino (a.k.a. “El Don”) was back in the Dominican Republic. As reported, he arrived on Saturday, 28 February 2015 at 4:52am on board JetBlue flight 609 from New York City. Listin Diario published a copy of his entry card, where he gives his address as Calle Francisco del Rosario Sanchez 80 in the southwestern city of Elias Pina.

Diario Libre reports that a military agent assigned to the Airport Security Corps (Cesac) met Quirino on arrival and escorted him through Migration and Customs. He did not go through the usual procedures for passengers, let alone for convicts arriving from abroad. Hoy reports he arrived with hand luggage and was rushed through Customs. He would board a black SUV and expeditely leave the airport.

Minister of Interior Jose Ramon Fadul, Police Chief Manuel Castro Castillo and director of the National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) Julio Cesar Souffront Velazquez confirmed Quirino’s arrival, but did not give details of his whereabouts. A report in Hoy says that by the time the state security forces, including the National Investigations Department (DNI), the National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) and Immigration, were informed, Quirino had already left the airport.

The convicted drug dealer had announced his intention to return to the Dominican Republic in his calls to the radio talk shows.

In 2005, Quirino was sentenced to a shortened sentence of 10 years in jail for a shipment of 1,375 kilos of cocaine after his arrest in December 2004 and subsequent extradition for trial in the United States. He has complained that the Dominican authorities had confiscated more than their rightful share of his assets, and says he is collecting on a RD$200 million “investment” he made in the former President’s electoral campaign from 2002 to 2004. Fernandez returned to government in 2004.

Quirino negotiated a deal with the United States courts to reduce his sentence from 20 years to 10, in return for revealing information on the drug trafficking business. The 10 years expired in 2014. As reported, he now has withdrawn from the witness protection program in the United States.

A great deal of speculation surrounds Quirino’s return. Diario Libre says that while Quirino was expected (the Consulate in New York had issued him a new passport), his actual arrival took the law enforcement agencies by surprise.

His lawyer in the Dominican Republic, Carlos Balcacer said that the Dominican Republic could not prosecute him for any crime because the judiciary had waived its rights to prosecution when it deported him to the US. He added that Quirino had chosen to leave the witness protection program because it required him to stay in the US and change his identity.

As reported in Hoy, Balcacer said that Quirino is demanding the return of assets for which he was not tried here and were the results of what he claims are legitimate businesses. “There is a great problem and the case could reach the Constitutional Court.”

Source: DR1, DiarioLibre

March 2, 2015

UPDATE (March 3): The Attorney General: There is no process open against Quirino, there is no need to return assets

Category: DR News |

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Last updated March 23, 2017 at 1:16 AM
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