By Esteban Cabrera
Santo Domingo, RD: Always according to a recent report issued by the Drug Control Administration, known by its acronym in English (DEA), the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico are being used as a transshipment (bridge) for the illegal transfer of Fentanyl, whose final destination is the continental United States.
However, it is no secret to anyone that countries used as springboards for drug trafficking have become large consumers of it. This business is generated through what is known as local micro-trafficking.
For example, the DR began as a collection or transshipment point for the large Colombian and Mexican cartels to transport drugs to Europe, the United States, and other destinations. When the Dominican military high command, who had this business under control, began to knock down the drug cartels, the latter lost the merchandise and money they paid those military leaders for 12 years under Balaguer. This brought about a radical change in the business. From there, the cartels began to propose that they would pay for merchandise, and that is what they did.
This is how the local drug trafficking business emerged in the Dominican Republic, better known as “micro-trafficking,” that has wreaked havoc on Dominican society, putting criminal mechanisms into practice that triggered violent crimes to their peak, in addition, the enormous reserve of young people who have been trapped under addiction and a cloak of street crimes as a consequence of internal disputes between criminal groups.
The fentanyl crisis.
The opioid crisis has already entered the Dominican Republic. The most worrying thing is that the authorities try to hide or not reveal the true dimensions with which the scourge is already hitting the population. The biggest cry of alarm was given by the director of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. José Ramírez, confirming that every week a considerable number of falsified prescriptions are being detected from people seeking to obtain Fentanyl to get high. These acts are related to the two main hospitals in the country for cancer treatment.
Although it is now when this editor sounds the alert, the country’s press keeps a sepulchral and complicit silence that Dominican society will pay at a price that will no longer have even a small amount left to return.
It’s nothing new, more of a well-kept secret.
Since 2014, the US authorities began to link some names of Dominicans involved in fentanyl trafficking in the US passed from Mexico through the islands of Puerto Rico and the DR, according to the report “Global on the Index of Organized Crime in the Dominican Republic (Global Organized Crime Index, Dominican Republic), in collaboration with federal authorities.
To give Dominicans an idea of the magnitude of what is about to explode under their feet, look at some statistics of what the opioid crisis has caused in the US:
Since the 1990s, deaths have continued to number in the tens of thousands yearly. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 1999 and 2019, nearly 500,000 people died from opioid-related overdose, whether illegal or prescribed by a doctor. In 2019 alone, about 136 people died each day from an opioid overdose, accounting for more than 70% of drug overdose deaths in the country. By comparison, it’s like a mid-sized plane crashes every day in the US.
This is news in development; the newspaper El Faro Latino has already opened a much more in-depth investigation to keep Dominican society and the diaspora properly informed about this threat, which is not whether it will arrive or not, but it is already in the DR.