Brazil authorities have reportedly dismantled an international drug trafficking network that purchased tons of drugs from a Brazilian crime boss jailed in Paraguay, in the latest illustration of how this powerful figure fuels crime and violence within and beyond prison walls.
On August 29, Brazil's federal police carried out "Operation Crown" against a criminal organization that allegedly acquired cocaine directly from Jarvis Chimenes Pavão, a Brazilian drug trafficker serving an eight-year sentence in Paraguay.
Several people were detained in Brazil and Paraguay, many of whom allegedly visited Pavão while he was being held in Tacumbú prison to negotiate the sale of tons of drugs, according to ABC Color. Evidence of this includes photographs of the suspects with Pavão in his "VIP" prison cell, which the inmate had essentially turned into his personal office.
(Footage of Pavão's prison cell, c/o ABC Color)
According to ABC Color, police will now investigate whether the detainees also visited Pavão after he was transferred to a Specialized Police Unit facility in 2016. The inmate is due to be extradited to Brazil in December 2017.
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Brazilian authorities claim the cocaine entered Brazil through Ponta Porã municipality in Mato Grosso do Sul state, along Brazil's southwestern border with Paraguay, before being trafficked and sold in the Serra Gaúcha region of Rio Grande do Sul state, in southern Brazil.
Since March 2017, Brazilian authorities have seized more than 4.6 metric tons of marijuana and cocaine linked to the investigation. The network is estimated to have earned 500,000 Brazilian reais (around $159,000) for each cocaine shipment trafficked.
InSight Crime Analysis
Pavão is on a long list of Latin American criminal bosses who are known to wield power from prison, and this is but the latest scandal illustrating the extent of his control. As well as allegedly running illicit economies, in 2016 Pavão was accused of attempting to spark disturbances across Paraguay's jails in a ploy to block his upcoming extradition to his home country.
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Pavão's operations also appear to have contributed to a violent turf war beyond prison walls, along the Brazil-Paraguay border. The crime boss has been accused of ordering the June 2016 murder of Jorge Rafaat Toumani, a once prominent Brazilian businessman and top drug trafficker operating in Paraguay's border city of Pedro Juan Caballero. In March 2017, Pavão's brother Ronny was allegedly murdered in retaliation, followed by a series of other homicides.
Pedro Juan Caballero, which lies across the border from Ponta Porã, is on a hotly contested trafficking route where local and Brazilian groups have taken root.