HomeNewsBriefAnti-Drug Chief Admits Paraguay Becoming Cocaine Producer
BRIEF

Anti-Drug Chief Admits Paraguay Becoming Cocaine Producer

PARAGUAY / 16 JUN 2014 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

Following recent discoveries of large scale cocaine processing laboratories in Paraguay, authorities have expressed concern that the role of the country in the regional drug trade is evolving from that of a transit nation to that of a producer country.

During a June 14 interview with radio station 780 AM, Paraguay’s antinarcotics chief Crispulo Sotelo voiced concern that the nation was becoming more involved in cocaine production, as indicated by a number of recent laboratory busts.

In a raid in the southeastern city of Encarnacion on June 13, authorities arrested five suspects and seized drugs and precursor chemicals from a laboratory that allegedly belonged to an organization with links to Brazilian criminal group the First Capital Command (PCC), reported Ultima Hora. The unfinished product was brought from Pedro Juan Caballero, near the Brazilian border, to be processed in Encarnacion, and the cocaine was then shipped by river to Argentina, according to ABC.

Authorities also found 15 bags of coca leaves at the site thought to have been brought from Bolivia, in what was reportedly the first seizure of the raw material used to produce cocaine in a Paraguayan laboratory raid.

Sotelo also highlighted a drug lab discovered earlier this year that allegedly produced cocaine destined for Paraguay’s domestic market in the Asuncion area, reported Prensa Latina

InSight Crime Analysis

In addition to being South America’s largest marijuana producer, Paraguay has become a key transit nation for Bolivian cocaine en route to Brazilian and European markets.

Recent discoveries of cocaine processing laboratories in the country show that Paraguay is now being used for drug production as well, and Sotelo’s concern that this is a rising trend appears to be well-founded. At least three major cocaine processing facilities, in addition to the ones he mentioned, have been discovered over the last year and a half, along with large amounts of precursor chemicals.     

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Paraguay

Meanwhile, the discovery of coca leaves in the most recent laboratory raid indicates the organizations involved are now going straight to the source, rather than trafficking in coca base to process. According to ABC, importing this primary material is legal and thus reduces the risks involved.

Increasing production also could mean that criminal groups operating in Paraguay are attempting to control more links in the drug chain and keep a larger percentage of the profits. Powerful Brazilian drug trafficking organizations that operate in Paraguay and traffic drugs from Bolivia — including the PCC and the Red Command — could be partly behind this shift. There are also signs Paraguayan-run organizations are getting more deeply involved in the drug trade. 

www1.delta-search.com/?babsrc=NT_ss_SU&mntrId=7806606C666F1464&affID=119357&tsp=4974

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Related Content

PARAGUAY / 8 AUG 2012

A report by Paraguayan newspaper ABC details the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel's unsuccessful attempt to establish a precursor chemical trafficking network…

PARAGUAY / 12 AUG 2011

An official affirmed that individuals with arrest warrants greatly outnumber police in Paraguay, an uneasy sign of the country's lack…

BOLIVIA / 11 AUG 2011

The Rosales, perhaps Bolivia's version of Mexico's Arellano Felix family, a closeknit group of siblings allegedly involved in drug trafficking,…

Institutional Content

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …