The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
Located just eighty miles from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic remains a primary destination of cocaine transiting the Caribbean and serves as a key transit country of U.S.-bound cocaine from South America. Dominican Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) have relationships with South American and Mexican trafficking groups and control significant mid-level distribution of cocaine and heroin in the northeastern United States. Resource constraints, endemic corruption, and lack of political will have handicapped the Dominican Republic.
Limited operational and institutional capacity of Dominican law enforcement hinder its ability to guarantee the safety of citizens. The Government of the Dominican Republic has made positive steps towards addressing security threats and institutional deficits. INL will work with the Abinader Administration to bolster capacity of Dominican law enforcement agencies to address transnational crime and citizen security.
As part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), INL efforts in the Dominican Republic focus on bolstering the professionalism and institutional capacity of Dominican law enforcement agencies, including the Dominican National Police, National Counterdrug Directorate (DNCD), Specialized Port Security Corps, Specialized Airport Security Corps , Specialized Border Security Corps (CESFRONT), and the Attorney General’s Office. Such efforts include the provision of training and equipment, support to vetted units, and anti-money laundering technical assistance.
For example, INL support for rule of law and administration of justice trains judges, prosecutors, police, and other actors involved in the judicial process in courses such as organized crime, forensics, interview techniques, financial analysis, and money laundering courses. INL supports technology upgrades to improve the efficiency and transparency of the justice system, including a current project to digitalize all current cases under review by the Dominican Court system.
INL programs strengthen the institutional capacity of the DNCD to investigate and interdict drug trafficking and distribution through training in methods such as surveillance and investigation; provision of equipment such as vehicles, radios, and bulletproof vests; strengthening its canine academy; and provision of upgrades to its information technology and communication system. In 2020, Dominican law enforcement interdicted 15.1 metric tons of narcotics, nearly reaching the 2017 record seizure of 15.7 metric tons.
INL supports law enforcement training and technical assistance to the DNP with our partners, the Colombian National Police (CNP), providing training and advice under the U.S.-Colombia Action Plan on Regional Security Cooperation (USCAP). INL and CNP-advised improvements to the Internal Affairs and Inspector General’s offices further strengthened anti-corruption efforts and led to the removal of over 1,000 police officers in 2019.
In collaboration with the GODR, INL supported the establishment of a centralized emergency response system with call centers in Santo Domingo in 2014 and Santiago in 2017. The 911 system’s emergency response now serves over 90 percent of the country’s population and has led to a marked decrease in crime everywhere it is active. As of May 2020, the GODR took over direct support of the system.