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Dominican Congressman Brought to Trial in Miami for Drug Trafficking

Diputado dominicano es llevado a juicio en Miami por cargos de narcotráfico

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Dominican Congressman Miguel Andres Gutierrez Diaz, detained in Miami, appeared Tuesday before a federal judge who scheduled for next Friday the first hearing in which he will be formally read the drug trafficking charges he faces in the United States.

Handcuffed, wearing a mask, still dressed in civilian clothes and seated with other detainees, the Dominican Congresssman, who was detained at Miami International Airport on Monday night upon his arrival on a flight from his country, appeared before Judge Alicia Otazo-Reyes via videoconference.

The Attorney’s Office asked the judge during the brief hearing to keep Gutiérrez in custody, considering him a “flight risk and danger to the community.

The judge also authorized the release of the defendant’s court records, which had been “sealed” until the arrest, which occurred in the last few hours.

According to the formal indictment issued by a federal grand jury in Miami on March 11, 2021, from approximately 2014 to 2017, Congressman Gutiérrez Díaz was part of a transnational drug trafficking network that operated in the Dominican Republic, Colombia and the United States.

The 58-year-old congressman and three others are accused of conspiring to import and distribute cocaine in the United States and face life in prison if found guilty.

Dominican President Luis Abinader said Tuesday that each person must pay for his or her deeds when asked about the arrest of the congressman, who like him is part of the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM).

“Everyone is responsible for their deeds, everyone should pay for their deeds,” Abinader told the press at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD) after participating in the opening of the Social Pact.

Gutiérrez Díaz was one of the most voted legislators of the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) in the last elections and has at least three companies in the Dominican province of Santiago, from where he coordinated his jump into politics, according to the Caribbean country’s newspaper Listín Diario.

According to the newspaper, in that province he is known as a “prosperous businessman in the real estate sector” and was also linked to the construction sector, but he had not made a political career before being elected deputy in the last elections.

Juan Antonio González, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and La Verne J. Hibbert, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Miami Field Division, announced the charges and the arrest.

DEA Miami investigated the case with the assistance of various government agencies.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard Getchell and Ellen D’Angelo of the International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section in the Southern District of Florida are prosecuting the case.

This prosecution is the result of the ongoing efforts of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

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