One country’s cop is another one’s killer. With the recent reporting and investigation of crimes, rapes and murders in the Caribbean, this story tends to make the eyes widen. Safety in the Caribbean has become a major issue for tourists. How safe are tourists and how reliable are the people who are supposed to protect and serve? Are there back ground checks? One wonders.
The 1996 death of Lance Whifield in Newark, NJ appears to have some finality after nearly a decade. RamÃ³n Garcia was originally picked up in connection with this murder but fled to the Dominican Republic. For nearly a decade police and the FBI searched for Garcia. Where did they eventually find him? Where was he hiding and what was he doing? The fugitive was working for the Dominican Republic’s national police.
But Garcia ran, and it would be another decade before police put him back in handcuffs. Yesterday, FBI agents in Newark announced Garcia, 37, was back in the city after being arrested in the Dominican Republic, where he spent at least several of his fugitive years working for the Caribbean nation’s national police.
“I feel a burden’s been lifted off my chest,” said Sharon Metz of East Orange, one of the victim’s eight siblings. “We never thought this man would be caught. Everybody’s going to be at the trial.”
Metz said her 33-year-old brother was the father of two children who had just opened his own barbershop. He was shot to death in the street following a dispute inside an after-hours club on 6th Avenue in Newark on Oct. 14, 1995, said another sister, Dria Moore, who lives in Los Angeles. He died at University Hospital in Newark.
So much for background checks for police officials in the Dominican Republic. Maybe the police force should have checked as to why RamÃ³n Garcia was so proficient with guns?
Steve Siegel, an FBI spokesman in Newark, said the same agent pursued Garcia for nearly a decade, first tracking him down to the Dominican Republic seven years ago. Garcia, a native of the Caribbean nation, had gone to work as a member of the national police in the rural town of San Jose de Las Mata in 1999, Siegel said.
An officer at the police station in the small mountain town 17 miles southeast of Santiago said he had no knowledge of Garcia. Another officer in the precinct said Garcia had been working in Santiago. National police officials in the capital city of Santo Domingo were unable to provide any information about the fugitive. (Star Ledger)