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Dominican officials accused in drug case face 1 year in jail

January 17, 2015

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — The former director of an anti-narcotics unit in the Dominican Republic is one of nine people ordered Saturday to spend a year in jail as authorities investigate the disappearance of more than a ton of cocaine.

The other suspects include five police officers, two prosecutors and a lieutenant colonel. Two other police officers accused in the case are scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

Prosecutor Dominguez Brito said it was one of the most serious corruption cases the Caribbean country has investigated.

The investigation began last month when Police Chief Manuel Castro noticed the drugs were missing.

Authorities said the suspects are accused of not reporting at least three drug seizures, including one in September where 950 kilograms (2,000 pounds) of cocaine were discovered but never turned over to authorities.

Police have accused the two prosecutors of keeping 250 kilograms (550 pounds) and enlisting a police officer to help sell the drug, while the lieutenant colonel is accused of keeping 700 kilograms (1,500 pounds) and distributing the revenue to other police officers.

Prosecutors said the suspects bought property and cars, while some of the officers turned over what cash remained.

The investigation is still ongoing, with prosecutors pushing for the arrest of seven other officers.

A 2011 Amnesty International report found that some 12,000 Dominican police officers were accused of corruption between 2007 and 2010. It is unclear how many of those cases were tied to drug trafficking.

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