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Cablegate: Dominican Attorney General Promises Article 98 And

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 SANTO DOMINGO 001950

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAR (MCISAAC), L/LEI (FUENTES AND TAYLOR), PM
JUSTICE FOR CRIM/OIA J. MAZUREK AND R. GOLDMAN
US MARSHAL SERVICE PLEASE PASS TO C. DUDLEY

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/24/2014

TAGS: CJAN DR KCRM KJUS SNAR PREL MARR
SUBJECT: DOMINICAN ATTORNEY GENERAL PROMISES ARTICLE 98 AND
EXTRADITIONS
REF: A. STATE 52123

B. SANTO DOMINGO 683
C. SANTO DOMINGO 515
D. SANTO DOMINGO 795

Classified By: Ambassador Hans. H. Hertell, reasons 1.5(b) and (d).

1. (U) Summary. On March 24 Dominican Attorney General
Victor Cespedes Martinez promised the Ambassador that he
would act swiftly on the Article 98 agreement, facilitate
extradition requests and work to improve the handling of
narcotics/narcotrafficking cases in the Dominican Republic.
End Summary.

------------------
Article 98
------------------

2. (C) The Ambassador received Attorney General Cespedes on
March 24 at the Attorney General's request. The Ambassador
stressed the importance of swift movement on Article 98 and
Cespedes stated that the USG could count on his immediate
support. Cespedes should receive the Article 98 agreement
from the Foreign Ministry within days. He will review it and
forward it to the legal office at the Presidency. The legal
office at the Presidency will be the final stop before the
agreement is sent to Congress for ratification. Cespedes
said he will push for immediate ratification once the
agreement in the Congress.

------------------
Extraditions
------------------

3. (C) On extraditions, Cespedes stated confidently that no
other Latin American country, and perhaps no other country in
the world, works as closely with the USG on extradition
requests. He said he wanted to continue the close
relationship and ensure that the process was
institutionalized. For the first time, he told Emboffs to
contact him directly in regard to any extradition case
instead of sending requests and questions to Assistant
Attorney General Francisco Cadena Moquete. He stated his
desire to have the best extradition record of any Dominican
Attorney General.

4. (C) When the Ambassador asked about the release on March
23 of Lourdes Ivelise Machuca, a fugitive for whom we had
requested extradition in October 2003, Cespedes appeared
unaware of the extradition request. He told us that he would
re-arrest Ms. Machuca and she would be extradited in the same
manner in which Josefina Rojas was re-arrested and extradited
(reftel B). Cespedes told us that he signed a medical
release order for her because she is suffering from "suicidal
tendencies." He said she is hospitalized and receiving
treatment. On March 25 poloff supplied the Attorney General
with another copy of the extradition request for Ms. Machuca.

5. (C) Within the last week, Cespedes has signed 17
provisional arrest warrants for fugitives believed to be
located in the Dominican Republic. The signed orders have
been passed to the local authorities and Embassy DEA, LEGAT
and U.S. Marshal offices. One of the provisional arrest
warrants is for Ramon Garcia, (reftel C) a fugitive who was
arrested and released by the GODR last year.

---------------------------------------
Narco-trafficking and Money Laundering
---------------------------------------

6. (SBU) The Ambassador asked Cespedes what could be done to
improve prosecution of narcotics/narcotrafficking cases.
Cespedes said that nacrotrafficking policy has strengthened
quite a bit in recent years. He said he had given directives
for a mandatory process which attaches a single prosecutor to
all phases of a given narcotics case, in effect, reducing the
possibility of case tampering by an interceding prosecutor.
Arrest warrants and legal confirmation papers must be signed
at the time of capture. According to Cespedes, all
narcotrafficking cases are treated with the utmost care. He
told us that we should notify him personally if we encounter
any irregularities with any of the prosecuting officials in
narcotrafficking cases.

7. (C) Cespedes said there is little he can do in
narcotrafficking and money laundering cases in regard to
asset forfeiture. He stated the Dominican money laundering
law is new and untested. He said that he would work with the
DNCD in any way possible to assist them in seizing assets,
however, he pointed out, asset seizure responsibility does
not lie in his office.

--------
Comment
--------

8. (C) Attorney General Cespedes is of questionable
character. Until he became Attorney General, there had been
no extradition cases in which an arrested fugitive had been
released rather than returned to the USG (reftel B). He has
misled us in the past and we believe he has lied directly.
The Ambassador previously expressed USG concerns about the
Attorney General to President Mejia and President Mejia told
us that he planned to remove the Attorney General from his
position (reftel D).

9. (C) At this juncture, Cespedes seems eager to please the
USG. It appears that he is fighting for his job or perhaps a
"promotion" (e.g., to the Supreme Court bench, as rumored in
the press). It is possible that he has heard rumors that the
USG has questions about him. This may be the motivation for
his sudden desire to cooperate with us.
HERTELL

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