HomeNewsBrief'Microtrafficking Czar' Raid Highlights Paraguay Domestic Drug Market
BRIEF

'Microtrafficking Czar' Raid Highlights Paraguay Domestic Drug Market

MICROTRAFFICKING / 12 MAR 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Police in Paraguay seized $100,000 in drugs from a laboratory belonging to a fugitive drug trafficker, whose nationwide crack distribution network is an example of the criminal opportunities offered by Paraguay's domestic drug market.

On March 7, police dismantled a laboratory dedicated to the production of cocaine and crack -- a cheap cocaine derivative -- in Paraguay's capital city, Asuncion, reported ABC.

In addition to the drugs found at the site, authorities discovered a notebook in which Armando Javier Rotela Ayala, known as the country's "micro-trafficking czar," kept note of drug contacts and distribution points throughout the country, and particularly in the Central province.

Rotela Ayala was arrested in 2011, but later escaped from a prison in the southern province of Misiones in November 2012.

According to police, Rotela Ayala currently receives coca paste from Bolivian drug traffickers, who bring the drugs to Asuncion via the Transchaco highway. His network pays $2,000 per kilo, and later mixes it with other substances in laboratories, divides each kilo into 7,000 doses and distributes the crack for a profit of nearly $16,000 per kilo, said the head of the antinarcotics division, Crispulo Sotelo.

Authorities also believe the drug trafficker enjoys the protection of corrupt police, since several of his distribution points are located in zones with a permanent police presence, reported ABC.

InSight Crime Analysis

The size, scope and profits of Rotela Ayala's network are indicative of a growing domestic drug market in Paraguay, which is a major regional supplier of marijuana and a growing transit point for cocaine.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Paraguay

Paraguay's importance to the transnational drug trade has attracted a number of foreign groups -- particularly Brazilian prison gangs the Red Command (CV) and the First Capital Command (PCC), as highlighted with the recent capture of four alleged PCC hitmen in the criminal hub of Ciudad del Este. However, the crack distribution network led by Rotela Ayala appears to be entirely home grown and even has its own connections to a cocaine source and transport network, in another indication locals are increasingly involved in the drug trade

As one of the region's poorest countries, Paraguay does not have a growing middle class fueling recreational drug consumption, a phenomenon seen elsewhere in the region. Nonetheless, there is a significant market for crack, which officials say has become the most consumed drug in the country, as well as the most harmful.

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

BRAZIL / 31 JAN 2018

Cigarettes manufactured by a firm belonging to the family of Paraguay's president have once again been seized after being…

MARIJUANA / 20 DEC 2013

Paraguay's top anti-drugs official has said Uruguay's legalization of marijuana will spur an increase in production in his country, based…

EPP / 19 JAN 2018

Paraguay’s main guerrilla group has displaced hundreds of Mennonite families from an area not far from strategic drug trafficking…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…