Monday evening, federal law enforcement officers arrested 58-year-old Miguel Andres Gutierrez Diaz with illegal drug trafficking, following the official’s international flight from the Dominican Republic to Miami. While some drugs are legally bought and sold in the United States, some are not and Diaz was allegedly part of an illegal supply and demand business specializing in cocaine, one of the most frequently used drugs in the United States.
According to livescience.com, “leaves of the coca plant (Erythroxylum coca) have been used as a stimulant in South America for thousands of years. The drug derived from coca, cocaine — popularly known as coke, blow or Bolivian marching powder — has been credited with a range of health benefits.
Cocaine can be used as a topical anesthetic for surgical procedures due to its rapid-acting numbing properties. When combined with other compounds into a preparation called TAC, cocaine can also treat minor skin lacerations, since the drug is an effective vasoconstrictor (narrows blood vessels).
Dr. Andrew Weil, founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, has studied coca’s gastrointestinal effects among South American communities. “If you look carefully at the coca leaf’s molecular array, you find 14 bioactive alkaloids … while cocaine acts as a gut stimulant, other coca alkaloids can have precisely the opposite action. They inhibit gut activity,” Weil wrote in the Huffington Post.
“During my time in Andean Indian communities, I collected many reports about whole coca’s paradoxical, normalizing effect on bowel function, and experienced it firsthand, as well,” he wrote.”
Diaz, of Santiago, is an elected member of the Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Republic. According to the indictment returned by a Miami federal grand jury on March 11, 2021, from about 2014 to 2017, congressional representative Gutierrez Diaz was part of a transnational drug business that operated in the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and the United States. The federal indictment charges Gutierrez Diaz and others with three counts: planning to sell cocaine to United States citizens who wanted to buy it, knowing that it would be sold to willing buyers into the United States; planning to import an illegal product into the United States; and planning to possess while intending to sell the cocaine to voluntary buyers. If convicted, Gutierrez Diaz faces up to life imprisonment.
An indictment merely contains allegations, and we presume a defendant innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.