HomeNewsBriefMurder Draws Attention to Paraguay-Uruguay Marijuana Trade
BRIEF

Murder Draws Attention to Paraguay-Uruguay Marijuana Trade

DRUG POLICY / 11 FEB 2016 BY ARRON DAUGHERTY EN

A shocking murder in Uruguay has drawn attention to Paraguay's role as the nation's biggest marijuana supplier, but upcoming drug legalization could potentially alter this dynamic.

On February 6, Paraguayan couple Ramón Quevedo Arce and Claudia Guerrero were driving near the Uruguayan city of Ciudad de la Costa when another vehicle pulled alongside them and fired 14 shots. Both were killed, and Arce's vehicle also struck and killed a 16 year old girl. The couple's young son survived by lying on the floor of the car, reported Cróncia

Police have said they believe Arce's killing is connected to marijuana trafficking, and that the victim had previously been suspected of involvement in a network that smuggled large quantities of Paraguayan marijuana into neighboring countries, according to Republica

"More than 90 percent" of marijuana consumed in Uruguay comes from Paraguay, Uruguay's counternarcotics sub-director Carlos Inzaurralde told El Pais. The drug is normally pressed into bricks and hidden in vehicles crossing in from Argentina and Brazil or thrown from clandestine airplanes, Insaurralde added. 

16-02-11-MarijuanaRoutes

Marijuana trafficking routes (courtesy of El Pais) 

Additionally, the trade appears to be growing, with Uruguayan authorities seizing 2,521 kilograms of marijuana in 2015, up from 1,457 kilos in 2014, El Pais reported. 

In the wake of the violent incident, Uruguay police said they will look deeper into trafficking networks. However, a connection between Paraguayan politicians and drug traffickers will present a challenge, an unnamed counternarcotics official told El Pais. 

InSight Crime Analysis

As South America's largest marijuana cultivator, it is no surprise Paraguay is Uruguay's biggest supplier. However, the latter is in the process of implementing reforms to legalize marijuana, which may impact Paraguayan suppliers. 

SEE ALSO: Uruguay, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Uruguay already allows citizens to grow up to six marijuana plants for personal use, and legal commercial sales are expected to begin in August or September 2016 at prices of around $1.50 a gram, The Washington Office on Latin America's (WOLA) Communications Officer Geoff Ramsey told InSight Crime

Ramsey added that while this may be the same or even slightly higher than illegal street prices, consumers are likely to choose legal marijuana due to its superior quality.

"Paraguayan cannabis has been found to be contaminated with everything from fungus, pesticides and even heavy metals. So users will eventually switch over to a safer product," Ramsey said. 

However, if Paraguayan smugglers are pushed out of Uruguay, the much larger drug markets of Brazil and Argentina still offer lucrative profits, meaning Uruguay's marijuana legalization is unlikely to significantly disrupt Paraguayan marijuana production.

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

ELITES AND CRIME / 20 OCT 2021

The killing of four young people in Paraguay’s border city of Pedro Juan Caballero has led back to an imprisoned…

BRAZIL / 24 AUG 2021

Localized gang warfare in Brazil's state of Rio Grande do Sul has sparked a security crisis along its border with…

COCAINE / 25 FEB 2021

Boquerón is an important part of regional cocaine trafficking routes due to its strategic location on Paraguay's border with Bolivia…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…