Documents: Dominican Minister Slain Over Denied Permits

(AP) — The childhood friend accused of fatally shooting the Dominican Republic’s Minister of Environment and Natural Resources this week allegedly did so because he was denied environmental permits he was seeking on behalf of various companies, according to judicial documents obtained Wednesday.

One of the permits that slain former minister Orlando Jorge had denied had been submitted by his longtime friend and now suspect, Fausto Miguel de Jesús Cruz de la Mota, who served as an intermediary between the companies and the ministry.

That particular permit involved a request to export 5,000 tonnes (4,500 metric tons) of used batteries, according to the documents obtained by The Associated Press.

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

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

They also described Cruz as a “cold and calculating murderer” and are seeking one year of preventive prison as the investigation continues.

It was not immediately clear if Cruz had an attorney.

Shortly after Monday’s killing, police arrested Cruz at a church dozens of blocks away after telling a priest he committed a crime and handed over a gun to him.

Authorities also state in the documents that Cruz allegedly took advantage of his ties with Jorge to seek environmental permits given his support during the 2020 campaign for the minister’s Modern Revolutionary Party.

Jorge, who was a founding member of that party, was appointed minister in August 2020.

“I campaigned, and they’re not helping me,” exclaimed Cruz when he arrived at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources before the shooting on the morning of June 6, according to the documents.

“The evidence shows that the accused had been trying to obtain multiple permits but complained angrily that no one was helping him solve anything,” the Dominican Republic’s Department of Justice said in a statement.

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

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