Documents: Dominican minister murdered because of denied permits

Documents: Dominican minister murdered because of denied permits

Documents: Dominican minister murdered because of denied permits

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — The childhood friend accused of fatally shooting the Dominican Republic’s Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources this week is alleged to have done so because he was denied environmental permits he had applied for on behalf of several companies, according to court documents obtained Wednesday.

One of the permits denied by murdered former minister Orlando Jorge was submitted by his longtime friend and now suspect, Fausto Miguel de Jesús Cruz de la Mota, who acted as an intermediary between the companies and the ministry. That specific license included a request to export 5,000 tons (4,500 metric tons) of used batteries, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Those permits and others were found in a briefcase the suspect was carrying when the minister, who is the son of a former president, was shot six times in his office on Monday, the documents say.

Authorities wrote that the suspect was troubled by that particular permit: “It was denied, but they resubmitted it.”

They also described Cruz as a “cold and calculating killer” and are demanding a year of preventive prison while the investigation continues.

It was not immediately clear whether Cruz had a lawyer.

Shortly after Monday’s murder, police arrested Cruz in a church dozens of blocks away after he told a priest he had committed a crime and handed him a gun.

Authorities also state in the documents that Cruz allegedly abused his ties to Jorge to apply for environmental permits, given his support during the minister’s 2020 campaign for the Modern Revolutionary Party. Jorge, one of the party’s founders, was appointed minister in August 2020.

“I’ve been campaigning and they’re not helping me,” Cruz exclaimed as he arrived at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, according to the documents before the shooting on the morning of June 6.

“Evidence shows that the accused tried to get multiple permits but angrily complained that no one helped him solve anything,” the Dominican Republic’s Justice Department said in a statement.

It also accused Cruz of threatening the ministry’s legal adviser less than a month ago.

Authorities said that after the shooting, they seized Cruz’s car and found a 9mm Uzi with two magazines each of 30 bullets and $2,000 in cash, among other things.

Cruz is the son of Major General Fausto Miguel Cruz, who served as the commander of the Dominican Republic’s Air Force from 1988 to 1990, a spokeswoman told the AP.

He is also a shareholder of a construction company and an armory.

Meanwhile, Jorge, the murdered minister, comes from a well-known political family. He is the son of former Dominican President Salvador Jorge Blanco and his sister is a deputy minister in Abinader’s government. Jorge’s son is a legislator for the Modern Revolutionary Party.

Jorge’s family held a two-day vigil for him that drew several mourners, including former Red Sox slugger and Hall of Famer David Ortiz. He was quoted by the newspaper Listín Diario: “This is terrible. … Let’s stop all this violence.”