HomeNewsBriefFormer Mayor Who Exposed Narco-Political Links in Paraguay Captured
BRIEF

Former Mayor Who Exposed Narco-Political Links in Paraguay Captured

PARAGUAY / 6 MAR 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

A former mayor in eastern Paraguay, accused of ordering the killing of an investigative journalist, has been arrested in Brazil, in a case that detonated a narco-politics scandal in this landlocked South American nation.

On March 4, Brazilian police arrested Vilmar “Neneco” Acosta in Mato Grosso state near the Paraguayan border, reported Vanguardia. Acosta is the former mayor of the town of Ypejhu in eastern Paraguay and is accused of ordering the murder of journalist Pablo Medina in October 2014. He had reported on links between Acosta, his family, and drug traffickers in the region.

Paraguay's Attorney General Javier Diaz Veron said authorities are seeking to extradite the former mayor. A judge in Brazil has revoked Acosta's Brazilian citizenship because the suspect reportedly obtained a false birth certificate in that country, paving the way for extradition proceedings to begin.

Acosta was previously arrested in February 2011 after authorities found human bones and hair on his father's property in Ypejhu. He was released less than one month later, however, and the judges who freed him were subsequently found guilty of judicial irregularities in the case. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Acosta's capture is significant because the murder of Medina precipitated Paraguay's current narco-political scandal. The unprecedented media attention -- spearheaded by Medina's employer, ABC Color -- on the undue influence of drug trafficking groups on Paraguayan institutions has exposed some long-standing official corruption in the country. Paraguay regularly ranks among Latin America's most corrupt nations in Transparency International's annual Corruption Perceptions index, and in 2014 trailed only Venezuela and Haiti.

For years, Brazilian drug trafficking groups have bought political protection in eastern Paraguay, the country's most prolific marijuana-producing region.  It supplies several consumer markets in South America including Brazil, Chile, and Argentina.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Paraguay

Shortly after Medina's assassination, anti-drug czar Luis Rojas stated drug trafficking groups were using their economic influence to subvert political and judicial institutions in Paraguay. In December 2014, several congressmen were linked to high-level Brazilian and Paraguayan drug traffickers, including Carlos Antonio Caballero, alias "Capilo." 

In 2015, revelations of corruption have extended to Paraguay's security forces. In January, ABC Color revealed police officers in eastern Canindeyu province regularly received bribes from drug traffickers, and in February a military captain was arrested for running a transnational drug trafficking network.

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

CHINA AND CRIME / 11 OCT 2021

Contraband Chinese cigarettes are pouring into Latin America, infiltrating old smuggling routes and threatening longstanding criminal empires.

MARIJUANA / 21 JUL 2021

A string of large marijuana seizures in Paraguay's eastern border departments underscores how the region continues to be a key…

EPP / 30 JAN 2015

Paraguay's EPP guerrillas allegedly kidnapped and murdered a German couple, a move that will likely strengthen the country's resolve to…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…