General and senior officers charged with smuggling 220 guns
Santo Domingo.- The Justice Ministry on Tuesday requested pretrial detention against seven military officers including one general, charged with smuggling 220 guns of various calibers, through the Defense Ministry´s Weapons Dept.
It said the charges stem from a months-long investigation by Intelligence agencies, which found that since 2012 many new permits were being issued for expensive weapons such as Glock and Sig Sauer, which cost as much as RD$300,000 each
The Santo Domingo Office of the Prosecutor said despite that the import of all types of guns is banned, several raids turned up the weapons smuggled by general Bienvenido Cordero Batista, officers Félix Francisco Pérez Artiles, Esteban Marrero Ruiz, Francisco Mercedes Medrano, Edwin Rafael Almonte Camacho and José Miguel Torres Rodríguez,
It said Torres, who held senior posts with over 20 years in the military, is connected with Pedro Manuel Guzman Escarramán, owner of the store where the guns were sold.
It said Army Lt. Col Perez Artliez was in charge of registering and the storage of all weapons.
The Justice Ministry adds that the investigation found that Army major Marrero Ruiz was the link in the processing of all sales in all gun shops and for issuing licenses to carry and possess weapons, whereas Army captain Francisco Mercedes Medrano was in charge of filing the registration forms.
Jan 27, 2016
UPDATE: Military personnel say arms imported legally
Military personnel accused of weapons trafficking have defended their innocence by saying the firearms were imported legally and the corresponding Customs taxes had been paid.
State prosecutors are accusing seven military officers employed at the Ministry of Defense Warfare Department of smuggling 220 guns and passing them off as official imports when they were intended for sale on the local market. Prosecutors are accusing the department director, Air Force General Bienvenido Cordero Batista of heading the operation, along with Major Esteban Marrero Ruiz, Captain Francisco Mercedes Medrano, First Lieutenant Edwin Rafael Almonte Camacho, Felix Francisco Perez Artilez and Jose Miguel Torres Rodriguez. The owner of the Armeria Heptagono shop in Santiago where the weapons were sold, Pedro Manuel Guzman Escarraman, has also been arrested. The military officers were arrested after the United States government voiced suspicions about gun purchases being made in the United States and informed the higher echelons at the Dominican Republic Ministry of Defense, as reported in El Dia. ??
7Dias has said that a joint investigation was launched with the Ministry of Interior and Police and the Santo Domingo prosecutors, which ascertained that many new permits for firearms of expensive brands such as Glock and Sig Sauer at market prices of RD$300,000 in the local market had been issued since 2012, despite a ban on the import of all firearms in Decree 309-06.
Jan 29, 2016
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