HomeNewsBriefRising Brazil Border Seizures Troubling Sign for the Region
BRIEF

Rising Brazil Border Seizures Troubling Sign for the Region

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 5 MAR 2018 BY C.H. GARDINER EN

Even without significant investment in border security, weapons and narcotics seizures along Brazil’s borders have increased over the last year, giving rise to the possibility that this increase is being driven by underworld dynamics.

According to federal police data, there was a 33.5 percent increase in seizures of arms illegally crossing into the country in 2017, O Globo reported. The majority of the guns were destined for Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo from where many are redistributed across the country.

Ninety-five percent of weapons seizures occurred in the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso do Sul and Paraná, which share a land border with Paraguay where the town of Pedro Juan Caballero has increasingly become a hub of cross-border criminal activity. The remaining five percent were transported by small planes between Bolivia and Paraguay to the interior of São Paulo and Minas Gerais.

              SEE ALSO: Coverage of Paraguay

Marijuana and cocaine seizures also rose by 74.1 percent and 39.4 percent respectively. Brazil’s domestic market is the second largest consumer of cocaine in the world behind the United States and the country has been increasingly used as a shipping point for narcotics to Europe.

InSight Crime Analysis

Despite the recent successful seizures, the Brazilian government has chosen to decrease expenditure on systems designed to monitor the country’s border. Sisfron — a network of sensors that the government is installing to cover Brazil’s 17,000 kilometer border by 2022 — currently covers just four percent of the frontier.

As federal resources are moved away from intercepting weapons and narcotics at the border and instead are focused on endpoint destinations like Rio de Janeiro, the ability of security forces to challenge the development of trafficking routes is suffering some setbacks. To make matters worse, a 2016 change in legislation, which caps the federal budget, effectively prevents new investment in border security without having to reduce spending elsewhere.

SEE ALSO: PCC News and Profiles

Given the lack of resources, it’s not clear what’s causing the uptick in seizures. The increase in cross-border seizures comes on the heels of reports that detailed attempts by criminal groups to import weapons into Brazil from Venezuela, taking advantage of the economic and political instability in the country.

Organizations like the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital – PCC) have also utilized significant resources to establish a strong presence in neighboring countries like Paraguay to facilitate trafficking. Powerful elites in the Paraguayan government may be directly or indirectly benefiting from the illicit cross-border activities of the organization, decreasing political will on one side of the frontier to combat the issue.

The escalating conflicts between criminal organizations within Brazil, and a national security policy focusing more on the use of strong-arm tactics are driving criminal organizations to arm and train themselves, boosting the demand for weapons from neighboring nations.

Brazil has the third longest land border in the world and shares it with countries that are abundant producers and distributors of weapons, narcotics, and contraband.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

EPP / 2 MAY 2011

A recently released hostage of Paraguayan guerrilla group the EPP says his captors boasted about their links to Colombia, Venezuela…

ARGENTINA / 4 MAR 2019

Authorities in Bolivia have arrested one of Argentina’s most sought after drug traffickers dubbed the alleged “El Chapo Guzmán” of…

BRAZIL / 26 OCT 2011

Brazil's elite military police are trying to build ties with communities and undo the harm done by officers who allegedly…

About InSight Crime

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. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…