Believe it or not: 12 Starlink dishes clandestinely installed at La Victoria Jail

The General Penitentiary and Correctional Services Agency (DGSPC) announced on 5 February 2024 the dismantling of Starlink satellite dishes at the La Victoria Jail. The actions follow after detainees admitted to committing crimes contracted by jail inmates.

The DGSPC reports that on Sunday, 4 February 2024 DGSPC inspectors cracked down on the internet network that prisoners operated in the La Victoria Jail.

Six Starlink satellite dishes, of a total of 12 that were seized during the inspection operation, were located on the roof of the jail.

The DGSPC said the seizing of the equipment occurred after an intelligence operation that detected the equipment that was said to be used by inmates to commit scams and other electronic crimes.

The DGSPC said that members of the National Police stationed at the jail and DGSPC intelligence teams participated in the dismantling operation.

The DGSPC seized 12 Starlink satellite dishes and six signal repeaters, according to the DGSPC press release.

Last week, the director of the DGSPC Roberto Hernández Basilio had told Diario Libre that the jails could not be disconnected from the Internet because doing so would affect the surrounding communities.

When asked during the Monday, 5 February press conference about the dismantling of the inmate-run Internet system at the jail, President Luis Abinader said the government needs to do more to significantly improve the jail system in the country. He says the government has estimated an investment of RD$3 to RD$5 billion is needed.

The past administration under Attorney General Jean Alain Rodriguez spent billions to build the Las Parras mega jail to transfer inmates from La Victoria. The new prison, nevertheless, has been immersed in legal tangles as preliminary reports indicate major corruption in the construction. One of the major contractors in the jail is a company supposedly owned by the son of the former minister of the Presidency of the Abinader government, Lisandro Macarrulla. Meanwhile, Minister of Housing Carlos Bonilla announced the resuming of the completion of the Las Parras jail.

In May 2022, Roberto Santana, the country’s leading jail reform specialist, had warned of a billionaire mafia operating at the Victoria Jail.

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6 February 2024