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"Sixty Minutes" Highlights Dominican Drug Trade in New York


March 1993

In a segment on the May 2, 1993 "Sixty Minutes," Morley Safer chronicles the burgeoning and violent drug trade in New York City's Washington Heights, run by legal and illegal immigrants from the Dominican Republic. The drug dealers send millions of dollars yearly home to family members, according to authorities cited in the report.

The money has built "Villa Narco," a nickname for the town of San Francisco in the Dominican Republic. Its residents previously had no economic future but moved from abject poverty to inhabiting luxury homes complete with satellite dishes in a few years. While it is a peaceful village, the trade has turf violence in New York, with most of the city's homicides now occurring in the Washington Heights sector.

Neighborhood youths interviewed for the segment estimated that from 25 percent to 50 percent of the Dominicans in Washington Heights are drug dealers. And the youth interviewed said that the dealers provide for the economic welfare of their fellow Dominicans in the neighborhood as well as back in the Dominican Republic. When Morley Safer asked one youth about the killings of friends and relatives, he said that he saw the death of a drug dealer as an opportunity for someone else to move up and pick up the deceased dealer's segment of the drug trade.