Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Rijo charged with money laundering in the Dominican

Dominican native and former big league pitcher Jose Rijo has been charged with money laundering in the Dominican Republic. He has been charged with laundering money for 'alleged' drug trafficker Avelino Castro. Prosecutors did not arrest Rijo, but ordered him to remain in the Dominican Republic.

The drug trafficking issue in the Dominican Republic has not been spotlighted as it has with the Mexican drug cartels of the 2000s or the Columbian cartels of the 1990s. But the fact is those same cartels actually ship their product through the Dominican Republic on the way to New York and the East Coast.

So, drug trafficking and organized crime are major problems in the Dominican Republic. Law enforcement in the Dominican Republic is undoubtedly more poorly funded and less organized than even Mexico or Columbia. The conditions are ripe for drug gangs to take advantage of the lack of law enforcement.

Murders, kidnappings, and bribery are the norm in the Dominican Republic, and even law enforcement officers are often caught up in the cycle of drug violence. Dominican news channels spout out stories of prosecutors being killed and police officers being bought off. And with the lack of law enforcement infrastructure (such as forensics teams) almost non-existent, many of the crimes go unsolved or are not investigated at all.

There are good law enforcement officers and prosecutors in the Dominican Republic. They just lack the infrastructure and man power to maintain the type of law and order we are used to in the States and other western countries. What drew prosecutors to the Rijo case was the fact that Avelino Castro was 'allegedly' involved in the kidnap and murder of Dominican journalist Jose Silvestre.

Rijo signed with the Yankees in 1980 and debuted with New York in 1984. He was the MVP of 1990 World Series with the Reds and made one All-Star team. Rijo last pitched in the Majors in 2002, rounding out a 14 year big league career. Interesting to note that he won the Reds Joe Nuxhall Good Guy award twice, and he is in the Reds Hall of Fame. Wonder if they can take those back?

He is from San Cristobal, Dominican Republic.
Dominican pitcher Jose Rijo, member of the Reds Hall of Fame, charged with
laundering drug money in the Dominican Republic, photo by zeejaydee on Flickr

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