|04SANTODOMINGO683||2004-02-03 20:47:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Santo Domingo|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
1. (U) On January 30, 2004, Josefina Rojas was extradited
from the Dominican Republic in the company of US Marshals.
Rojas is wanted to stand trial on federal narcotics charges
in the Southern District of New York. The Dominican
Republic's National Drug Control Directorate (DNCD), working
with U.S. Marshals and DEA, arrested Rojas. This is the 70th
extradition since 1998, and is the first case of a prisoner
released by the GODR Attorney General and then re-arrested
2. (SBU) Embassy requested the extradition of Rojas in
January 2002. The provisional arrest warrant for her was
issued by former Dominican Attorney General, Virgilio Bello
Rosa, on October 25, 2002. Rojas was captured and imprisoned
in Spring 2003. President Mejia signed an order of
extradition for Rojas on October 29, 2003. One day later,
current Attorney General, Victor Cespedes Martinez, signed an
order releasing Rojas from custody. Dominican law
enforcement contacts told DEA agents that Rojas had been
released. Embassy officials received no official notice or
explanation of the release. Additionally, the extradition
order signed by President Mejia did not become public until
Rojas was re-arrested on January 25, 2004.
3. (C) In a November meeting with Ambassador Hertell,
Attorney General Cespedes stated that he believed that Rojas
was released because he felt that she would be subject to
double jeopardy if returned to the United States. When
questioned further, the Attorney General stated that Rojas
was released from prison due to illness and for reasons of
compassion. The Attorney General said that she had a tumor
that needed to be treated and that she would be turned over
to the USG after she received treatment. Ambassador Hertell
told the Attorney General that Rojas would be provided
whatever medical treatment necessary once she was in custody
of U.S. authorities.
4. (C) The Dominican law enforcement contacts who originally
alerted the DEA of Rojas' release speculated that Cespedes
freed her was because a personal relationship had developed
between Rojas and the Attorney General. After Rojas was
released, Dominican law enforcement contacts reported to DEA
agents that she returned to the prison where she had been
incarcerated to taunt other prisoners.
5. (C) In addition to meeting with Attorney General Cespedes
to discuss extradition cases Ambassador Hertell has raised
extradition issues with President Mejia on at least four
occasions within the past three months. It is likely that
the direct dialog between Ambassador Hertell and President
Mejia precipitated the re-arrest of Rojas and her subsequent
6. (SBU) Since the GODR began extraditing fugitives to the
U.S. in 1998, 70 prisoners have been successfully returned to
the U.S. to stand trial or serve outstanding sentences.
Since early 2003, when Cespedes was named Attorney General,
five fugitives for whom the USG has requested extradition
have been arrested and released. Prior to Cespedes becoming
Attorney General, no fugitives who had been arrested pursuant
to a valid U.S. requests for extradition had been released by
the GODR. The Rojas case marks the first instance in which a
prisoner had been released by order of the Attorney General
and subsequently re-arrested and extradited.
7. (C) The actions of Attorney General Cespedes in relation
to Rojas are questionable at best, illegal at worst. With
the circulation of President Mejia's October 29 extradition
order for Rojas, it is now evident that the Attorney General
contravened a direct written order by the President when he
signed the order for her release. The Attorney General's
conduct in other extradition cases is being reviewed and
questioned by embassy officials. Septel will report updates
on those cases.
8. (U) Rojas marks the first extradition by the Dominican
Republic in 2004, and the fifty-third under the
administration of President Mejia.