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Signing of the Standard Operating Procedures of the Joint Airport Interdiction Task Forces in the Dominican Republic, in the framework of the EU-funded AIRCOP Project

On 27 April 2017, the Government of the Dominican Republic signed the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), which guide the daily operations of the Joint Airport Interdiction Task Forces (JAITF) of the AIRCOP Project in the Dominican Republic, which have been operating since 2015 at Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo and at the International Airport of Punta Cana.

Funded by the European Union, Japan, Canada, Norway and the United States, the AIRCOP Project, implemented by UNODC, in partnership with INTERPOL and the World Customs Organization (WCO), was launched in the Dominican Republic on October 10, 2013, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Dominican Republic and UNODC. AIRCOP is a multi-agency, anti-trafficking initiative which strengthens detection, interdiction and investigative capacities of law enforcement officials in participating airports. AIRCOP contributes to the fight against transnational organized crime and addresses the challenge of a fragmented law enforcement approach by promoting regional and trans-regional cooperation as part of the EU Cocaine Route Programme.

With the signing of the SOPs, there is greater integration and cohesion of all the participating institutions that intervene in matters of airport security, since the SOPs define and regulate the new task forces, allowing the optimization of the information related to international airports and the resulting operations.

The signing ceremony of the SOPs took place at the Ministry of Defense and was attended by high-level authorities of the Dominican government, including General Rubén D. Paulino Sem, Minister of Defense, Major General Pilot Elvis Marcelino Feliz Pérez, Viceminister of Defense, General Aracenis Castillo, Director of the Specialized Corps of Airport Security and Civil Aviation, Vice Admiral Edmundo Felix Pimentel, President of the National Drug Control Agency, Colonel Fidel Calcaño Paulino, Director of the Intelligence Department (J2), Colonel Braulio José Felix, Head of the NCB of INTERPOL in Santo Domingo, Colonel Jorge Iván Camino, Head of Intelligence of the Immigration Department, Commander Miguel Ángel Mariñez, Head of Operations of the National Investigation Department and Mr. Ramón Valerio, Head of Intelligence of the Customs Department, among others. UNODC was represented by Mr. Sergio Naranjo, Regional Coordinator of the AIRCOP Project for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The JAITFs of the Dominican Republic have achieved impressive results to date, with 122 seizures and 105 arrests, including 328 kg of cocaine, 11 kg of cannabis and 864,000 US dollars.