dominican-republic-flag_web.jpgDOMINICAN  REPUBLIC
Underground drug lab
SANTO DOMINGO – Authorities discovered an underground lab for processing cocaine, the first in a Caribbean country that has been experiencing a surge in drug seizures, officials said.

The lab was discovered beneath a grove of fruit trees on a ranch near the village of Sabana Toro, about 25 miles west of Santo Domingo. Police were searching the property a week after two Colombians were arrested there on suspicion of drug charges, the attorney general’s office said.

They seized about 225 kilograms of the base ingredient in cocaine. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said earlier this year that an estimated six percent of the cocaine bound for the United States would pass through the Dominican Republic.

Military training
PORT-AU-PRINCE – The government recently welcomed home 41 engineers and technicians who underwent 10 months of military training in Ecuador. The team is intended to be part of a soon-to-be-created quasi-military force that officials say will monitor the coasts and the border with the Dominican Republic, fight drug trafficking, raise environmental awareness and respond to disasters. President Michel Martelly was eager two years ago to fulfill a campaign goal of reviving the national army, which was disbanded in 1995 because of its abusive past, but backed off under pressure from the U.S. and other governments and opted to create a smaller force with the help of Ecuador.