HomeNewsBriefDrug Czar Denounces Corruption in Paraguay
BRIEF

Drug Czar Denounces Corruption in Paraguay

DRUG POLICY / 23 OCT 2014 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Paraguay's anti-drug chief has expressed concern over traffickers' ties to officials -- a phenomenon that may be inevitable given the importance of the marijuana trade to the country's economy -- and suggested regulated marijuana production as an alternative approach to tackling organized crime.

In an October 21 press conference, Luis Rojas, the head of Paraguayan anti-drug body SENAD, said drug traffickers used their economic influence to buy protection from politicians, as well as from the military, the judicial system, and the press, reported Ultima Hora. 

Rojas declined to provide further details, but his comments came shortly after Senator Robert Acevedo told radio station 780 AM that SENAD had a list of at least five senators and various government representatives who were linked to drug trafficking. 

Rojas said one alternative way to combat drug trafficking could be to regulate the production of marijuana, reported ABC Color. He also said that security forces should focus efforts on seizing properties belonging to major drug traffickers, in addition to marijuana eradication and seizures.

According to Rojas, in 2014 anti-drug officials have destroyed 6,000 tons of marijuana in three eastern provinces bordering Brazil: Amambay, Canindeyu, and Alto Parana, reported ABC Color.

InSight Crime Analysis

The size and economic importance of Paraguay's marijuana trade -- which based on UN marijuana production estimates could represent over 3 percent of the country's GDP -- makes narco-corruption in politics difficult to avoid, particularly in the main marijuana-growing provinces. In an interview with InSight Crime in September, Rojas said the local economy in Amambay depended so heavily on drug trafficking that large-scale eradication operations in the province produced a corresponding spike in robberies. 

Ties between drug traffickers and politicians are common in Latin American countries where the drug trade holds a lot of economic sway, such as Guatemala, Honduras and Peru.

With Paraguay the largest marijuana producer in South America, any mention of legalization as a mechanism to combat the drug trade -- particularly by the country's top anti-drug official -- will draw attention. Rojas' remarks stand in contrast to his former criticism of Uruguay's legalization law, which he said would lead to a production spike in Paraguay.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Paraguay

Drug trafficking is not the only crime in Paraguay that depends on ties to officials. In September, a Paraguayan government official described the flow of contraband near the Triple Frontier with Brazil and Argentina as an "uncontainable avalanche." This trade is facilitated by official corruption -- most notably in Ciudad del Este, which is such a haven for criminal activity that it has been referred to as Paraguay's "Wild West."

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.

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

DRUG POLICY / 20 APR 2021

Ecuador’s next president will face an unprecedented set of security challenges, as prison violence has soared to record levels, the…

ELITES AND CRIME / 11 APR 2022

Elements of the Venezuelan underworld, whether drug cartels, street gangs or illegal mining groups, have hit upon a unique way…

CARIBBEAN / 10 MAY 2021

High-ranking officials in the Dominican Republic are accused of siphoning millions of dollars in state funds through a religious non-profit,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…