September 09, 2019
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-2906
Former government official in the Dominican Republic charged with conspiring to import cocaine into the United States and money laundering offenses
NEW YORK CITY – Raymond P. Donovan, special agent in charge of the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Geoffrey S. Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that the Dominican Republic’s former Consul General to Jamaica, Jeremias Jimenez Cruz, and a co-conspirator have been charged in Manhattan federal court with conspiring to import cocaine into the U.S. and conspiring to launder money. Jimenez Cruz was arrested Sept. 6 and presented Sept.7 before United States Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn. The second defendant has not yet been arrested. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Kimba M. Wood.
“Jeremias Jimenez Cruz, the Dominican Republic’s former Consul General to Jamaica, allegedly used his high-level role in Dominican government to traffic large quantities of cocaine into the United States," said Berman. "When senior foreign officials invidiously conduct illegal activity in the United States, this office and our law enforcement partners will act swiftly and resolutely to bring them to justice.”
“Greed is the underlying motivation for drug traffickers worldwide. And saving lives is law enforcement’s mission, which leads to investigations like this one," said DEA Donovan. "Jeremias Jimenez Cruz is alleged to have used his position and resources to facilitate trafficking cocaine from the Dominican Republic to the United States. This is another example of how DEA and our law enforcement partners are focused on identifying, investigating and dismantling drug trafficking organizations responsible for fueling drug addiction.”
IRS-CI New York Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen said, "As alleged, Jimenez Cruz used his high level connections to launder drug proceeds. IRS-CI special agents will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners globally in following the money to stop the flow of these illicit profits back to the drug trafficking organizations."
According to the allegations in the Indictment1 and statements made in Court:
Jimenez Cruz is a former high-ranking government official in the Dominican Republic whose positions have included vice consul of the Dominican Republic to Germany, consul general of the Dominican Republic to Jamaica, and president of the National Christian Movement. As alleged, Jimenez Cruz and his co-conspirators used his position, connections, and private plane to traffic large quantities of cocaine, including for importation to the United States, and to launder drug proceeds.
Jimenez Cruz, 50, of the Dominican Republic, is charged with two counts: (1) conspiring to import at least five kilograms of cocaine into the United States, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison; and (2) conspiring to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA. The arrest was the result of an investigation by the New York Strike Force, a crime-fighting unit comprised of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
The Strike Force is housed at the DEA’s New York Division and includes agents and officers of the DEA and its Special Operations Division, the New York City Police Department, the New York State Police, New York City Sheriff’s Office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations, the U. S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, New York National Guard, the Clarkstown Police Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Port Washington Police Department, and New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Adam S. Hobson and Mollie Bracewell are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.