The Miami Herald
Aug. 29, 2002

Diplomatic official arrested in drug-dealing case


  The Dominican Republic's vice consul to Haiti was among five people arrested in the most high-profile narcotics case in recent years, Dominican authorities said

  Ormis Freddy Peña, who is based in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, was arrested Tuesday night in Santo Domingo after a five-month investigation.

  Authorities said he was caught distributing cocaine brought in from neighboring Haiti to a drug dealer in Cristo Rey, an impoverished suburb in the northern area of
  Santo Domingo.

  ''He was giving cocaine to one of the principal suppliers from that area,'' Jacobo Mateo Moquete, spokesman for the Dominican Republic's National Drug Control
  Directorate, said in a telephone interview.

  ''That cocaine came from Haiti, without a doubt,'' Moquete said.

  ''The biggest problem the Dominican Republic has as it relates to drug trafficking is Haiti,'' he said. ``They have a lot of drugs over there.''

  Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, has become a major transshipment point for cocaine.

  Also arrested in the case were Peña's chauffeur, the drug dealer and two other people who also purchased cocaine.

  Inside Peña's car, officers found 94.6 pounds of cocaine, three cell phones and several weapons, including an Uzi, two semiautomatic pistols and a revolver, officials said.

  Edwin Paraison, Haiti's consul in Santo Domingo, acknowledged that drugs are a problem in Haiti.

  ''Like with any other country that shares a common border, it is normal that bands of delinquents form alliances,'' Paraison said.

  ``But there is a clear willingness on the part of the Haitian government to combat drug trafficking.''

  This report was supplemented with material from The Associated Press.