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

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BRAZIL / 14 JAN 2021

The reported leader of the PCC in Paraguay, known as “Bonitão,” has been extradited back to Brazil after a tumultuous…

PARAGUAY / 23 FEB 2021

Paraguay has enjoyed relative stability following its transition to democracy in the early 1990s. However, the nation is the region's…

BRAZIL / 8 SEP 2022

Brazil's largest gang, the PCC, could be trying to take over the marijuana business in neighboring Paraguay.

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…