HomeNewsBriefKilling of Mysterious Figure Part of Larger Narco War in Paraguay?
BRIEF

Killing of Mysterious Figure Part of Larger Narco War in Paraguay?

PARAGUAY / 16 JUN 2016 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

A prominent businessman who had been linked to drug trafficking was gunned down by a group of heavily armed men in eastern Paraguay, which may be part of an ongoing criminal dispute over the region's illicit drug trade.

On June 15, at least 10 men wielding rifles and a .50 caliber machine gun unloaded 200 rounds on a vehicle driving on a public road in Paraguay's eastern border city of Pedro Juan Caballero, reported La Nación. The vehicle was armored, but it was no match for the heavy fire. Businessman Jorge Rafaat Toumani was killed in the ambush and five others were injured, according to Ultima Hora.

The aggressors made off on foot, leaving behind the machine gun, ammunition and bulletproof vests, reported EFE. (See image below) Paraguay's Interior Minister, Francisco de Vargas, said preliminary investigations suggest the Brazilian gang First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital - PCC) was responsible for the attack, although he added that further evidence would be needed to confirm this hypothesis.

A Brazilian national, Rafaat Toumani faced drug trafficking and money laundering charges in his home country in 2004, according to ABC Color. He was also once called the "face of drug trafficking" by Luis Rojas, the head of Paraguay's National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD).

Meanwhile, Roberto Acevedo, a senator from Amambay department where Pedro Juan Caballero is located, has accused Rafaat Toumani of ordering an assassination attempt against him in 2010.

Rafaat Toumani was also a well-known businessman who reportedly told local media that he owned six tire companies in Pedro Juan Caballero that helped generate some 600 jobs. He denied the accusations by Acevedo, saying the senator wanted him killed.

16-06-16-Paraguay-Machine-Gun

(Photo c/o La Nacion)

InSight Crime Analysis

Rafaat Toumani's murky ties to drug trafficking, along with the dramatic nature of the attack and the potential involvement of the PCC, suggest his death may be part of an ongoing battle over drug routes in Pedro Juan Caballero. In April, ABC Color reported authorities were fearful that a "war" was breaking out between the PCC and other drug gangs along the Paraguay-Brazil frontier.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Paraguay

The PCC has an active presence in eastern Paraguay, which is coveted territory for criminal groups because it is the epicenter of marijuana production in the country. Paraguay is the largest marijuana producer in South America, with much of the product ending up in neighboring Brazil after crossing a largely unregulated border, although the country also feeds consumer markets in Argentina and Chile.

The Paraguay-Brazil border area has long been hotly contested by Brazilian criminal groups operating on the Paraguayan side of the border. A spate of killings in Pedro Juan Caballero in early 2014 were linked to a dispute between two Brazilian criminal bosses. In March of that same year, Rojas admitted that two powerful Brazilian gangs, the Red Command and Amigos dos Amigos, had joined the PCC in Pedro Juan Caballero.

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 / 28 SEP 2020

Recent operations in Brazil against the country’s two leading gangs, the PCC and Red Command, show that authorities are varying…

CLAN ROTELA / 25 FEB 2021

Paraguay’s capital is a transit point for Bolivian cocaine shipped through the Tri-Border area, bound for Brazil. The Paraguay River,…

ARGENTINA / 14 NOV 2014

Authorities in Argentina have made the largest marijuana seizure in the country's history even as drug trafficking groups target journalists…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…