A former Paraguayan military official and his alleged business partner were detained in Paraguay with 40 kilos of cocaine, highlighting the importance of the country as a transit point for narcotics and the role of ex-military and police as facilitators for the trade.
Luis Ignacio Rolon Aral, a former pilot in the Paraguayan Air Force, and Hector Vladimir, a Brazilian national, were detained on July 19. Agents from Paraguay’s anti-narcotics unit, SENAD, intercepted the men traveling in two cars in the southern city of Villarrica and found 40 kilos of cocaine in Vladimir’s vehicle, reported ABC.
According to SENAD, evidence suggests the men were a part of an international drug trafficking network that uses Paraguay as a jumping-off point for shipping cocaine to Brazil and Europe.
InSight Crime Analysis
Corruption in Paraguay’s police and military, whether active or retired, is key to facilitating Paraguay’s drugs trade. In February, a former Paraguayan police chief was arrested for links to drug traffickers and a kidnapping ring. There have also been claims that Paraguay’s military is supplying Brazilian traffickers with weapons and allowing them to operate freely in the country.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said last year that drug traffickers are increasingly favoring the use of drug flights between Boliva, Paraguay and Brazil to move cocaine. Though Paraguay is not a producer of cocaine (it is the region’s main source for marijuana) it is a vital transhipment point due to its location between South America’s top cocaine consumer nations; Argentina and Brazil. Brazilian gangs such as the First Capital Command (PCC) and the Red Command are believed to be the main drivers of the trade through Paraguay.