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Dominican Republic: Infant Dies After Drug Police Raids the Ambulance She Was In

Categories: Latin America, Dominican Republic, Citizen Media, Health

Headquarters of the National Direction for Drug Control. Image taken from Dominican newspaper CDN [1].

Due to suspicions that an ambulance was carrying a big shipment of drugs, antidrug agents of the National Direction for Drug Control [2] [es] (DNCD, by its name in Spanish) in Dominican Republic stopped a vehicle that was taking a four month-old baby girl to a hospital. The ambulance was held up for a long period, and that delay was too much for the baby Carla Michel Ruiz Arias, affected by respiratory difficulties. The baby girl died from a respiratory arrest [3] [es] on her way to Robert Reid Cabral Children's Hospital in the National District from Juan Pablo Pina Hospital in San Cristóbal [4].

Miguel Medina, spokesman for DNCD, explained that in Quita Sueño area, in Haina, an intelligence action was underway, where they were monitoring an ambulance that was carrying drugs, according to information the institution had. Medina called the event a “fatal coincidence” and also assured that the agents involved in the raid informed that the vehicle with the baby was briefly stopped, and that they gave the ambulance the order to go ahead when they noticed that it was carrying a very sick baby.

According to his statements, when the agents stopped the ambulance, with license plate 877-511, they found a casket without any corpse and license plates from Puerto Rico, elements they deemed as suspicious. The result was that the driver was taken into custody to the DNCD and the vehicle was retained.

Meanwhile, there are witnesses that claim that about 10 motorists violently stopped the ambulance in the Sánchez highway and that, in spite of being aware of the baby's condition, the agents took more than 30 minutes for searching some drug dealers they never found.

The news outraged Dominicans, as the blog Traspitoonline.net [5] [es], that accounts the baby's funeral and notes that:

[…] Detenía Arias, madre de la occisa no pudo conversar con los periodistas y solo decía “Ellos me la mataron”, al referirse a los miembros de la DNCD actuante, que paralizaron la ambulancia por más de 15 minutos.

[…] Detenía Arias, mother of the baby, was unable to speak with the journalists and kept saying “They killed her”, when referring to members of DNCD, that held the ambulance for over 15 minutes.

Dominican legislator Tommy Galán described the “action by members of the DNCD as abusive, irresponsible for checking a duly identified vehicle that, in addition, was carrying a baby girl in a very serious health condition” and demanded a thorough investigation of the case.

On Twitter, users regretted the whole incident, mostly because of Carla Michel's young age:

Carla Michel Ruiz Arias won't learn to smile, nor mention “mom”, as DNCD didn't let her live for her to learn those things.

I wish there is an investigation of the passing of Carla Michel and those responsible get a punishment. Justice.

You know here there is no justice for anybody!

There are no words for comforting these parents for losing their child Carla Michel due to a negligence by DNCD!

Because of the way baby Carla Michel died, today as a parent if feel outraged. When will we live in a rule of law for everyone?

Carla Michel reveals another example of our sad reality: she was the daughter of a minor, the mom is only 15 years old.

The chairman of the National Direction for Drug Control, Julio César Souffront Velázquez, assured that there will be a punishment for the agents involved with the intervention of the ambulance where Carla Michel was, if investigations reveal their actions were negligent.