On August 20, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC“) designated César Emilio Peralta, a national from the Dominican Republic and the criminal organization he is said to control, as significant narcotics traffickers and a drug kingpin under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.
Alleged money launderer and trafficker
Peralta is known as “César the Abuser” (el abusador) in the Dominican Republic. Peralta’s criminal organization is alleged to traffic cocaine and opioids for Mexican cartels to foreign countries, including into the US and Europe, and to use front companies and nightclubs to launder money and traffic women from Colombia and Venezuela.
Peralta has a criminal record for involvement in narcotics trafficking. César Peralta has an Instagram account, @cesar_emilio_peralta30, that is now private.
Franco family of criminal PEPs
The Dominican Republic has issued a warrant for the arrest of Peralta who remains at large.
César the Abuser’s wife is Marisol Mercedes Franco.
This newspaper spoke to a source who alleges that Peralta was tipped off and left the country a week before. Marisol Franco’s sister is a politically exposed person, the politician Berlinesa Franco, who periodically posts pictures of herself and the president of the country online.
Marisol Franco is the daughter of another major drug trafficking fugitive named Francisco Franco, also known as Franklin Franco.
Francisco Franco escaped from prison in the US and has been wanted by the US Marshal Service since 1987 on an outstanding warrant from the SDNY. A number of Dominican news articles, including this one, say that Franco was connected at the highest levels and protected by the Dominican Republic government for decades and that the government refused to take steps to extradite him to the US.
Moya de la Cruz
According to media reports in the Dominican Republic, Marisol Franco used to be married to Sergio Moya de la Cruz.
Sergio Moya de la Cruz was charged in the Dominican Republic in 1998 with money laundering. He later got into the gambling business and owned a number of what are called “bancas” – little huts where one can place bets and wagers. He is now a politician in the Dominican Republic, even though two global drug traffickers comprise his close family – Francisco Franco is his former father-in-law.
Sergio Moya follows his father-in-law, the fugitive Francisco Franco, on Instagram (@franklinfranco23).
Sergio Moya’s associate in the bancas gambling business was at one time, Winston Rizik Rodriguez, (above) another major drug trafficker wanted by the US Marshal Service, who is currently incarcerated in the Dominican Republic, serving a ten year sentence for money laundering and drug trafficking.
Rizik-Rodriquez and Francisco Franco lived un-incarcerated for decades in the Dominican Republic and appear to have accumulated considerable wealth, even though unemployed.
The Instagram account of Franco’s daughter, the politician Berlinesa Franco (recently made private), includes many pictures of her traveling often to the US, apparently without impediment, despite that her father is a fugitive, and that her brother-in-law is an alleged major international human and drug trafficker. On Instagram, she frequently posted photos of a sudden accumulation of wealth.
Enter the Canadians
According to news reports and pleadings available from various Court proceedings, Sergio Moya seems to be tied to another person with a criminal record – a Canadian incarcerated in the Dominican Republic named Zeljko Zderic, allegedly originally a Bosnian national from Travnički who allegedly uses other names Sasha Vujacic and Pavle Kolic, who allegedly went to the Dominican Republic with or for the Montreal Mafia to help to take over some Canadian casinos.
Zderic or Vujacic appears to have been introduced to Sergio Moya de la Cruz by a Canadian named Andrew Pajak, who according to Court records, has operated the Dream Casinos Inc. gambling chain in the Dominican Republic since mid-2013. According to Canadian media reports, Pajak was recorded saying that he is a money mover for the mob in Canada.
Below is a picture from CBC News of Zderic or Vujacic (in black) with Vito Rizzuto (wearing glasses), who was head of the Canadian Sicilian Mafia in Montreal and with Toronto’s Frank Campoli, at one of the Dream casinos in the Dominican Republic in August 2013.
Sergio Moya de la Cruz may be the connective tissue between all of these people. He too, appears to have no problem entering the US often, according to his Instagram account.
A good summary of Peralta and his connections to the Franco family and Sergio Moya de la Cruz is described on the news episode, below.
Dominican Republic & drugs
The Dominican Republic is known as a premier transit country for drugs from Colombia and Mexico en route to Canada, the US and Europe because of its non-existent financial crime controls and its pervasive corruption. It is also known as a major human trafficking country where Venezuelian children and teenagers trafficked there, are forced into sex slavery for tourists from the US, Canada and Europe.
More recently, the DEA has reported that foreign nationals from the Dominican Republic living in New York City control distribution of the fentanyl trade for the Sinaloa Cartel.
In 2013, were Vito Rizzuto and the Montreal Mafia with its New York connections, in the Dominican Republic to get better connected to César Peralta and lay the groundwork for Dominican foreign nationals to become the main distributors in the Northeastern US for the Sinaloa cartel, that would evolve into the fentanyl crisis that would go on to kill thousands across the US and Canada? Seems possible.
Update: Peralta was located in Colombia and arrested in early December 2019.
In audio recordings, Peralta says he bribed the president of the Dominican Republic and several other government officials for years, essentially ensuring that the president got elected. Prior to his arrest, he offered to pay them more money not to be turned in. The president of the Dominican Republic has admitted that Peralta funded his campaign but alleges that he did not know that he was a narco trafficker and money launderer. Peralta says that the president had no house before Peralta began paying him protection money and helped his rise to power.