HomeNewsBriefParaguay Police Cmdr Charged as Corruption Scandal Grows
BRIEF

Paraguay Police Cmdr Charged as Corruption Scandal Grows

CLAN ROTELA / 20 MAY 2015 BY LOREN RIESENFELD EN

The commander of Paraguay’s national police has been charged in connection with a corruption scandal involving money siphoned from the agency’s gasoline fund, a rare indictment in a country where few corrupt officials are prosecuted.

On May 19, President Horacio Cartes removed National Police Commander Francisco Alvarenga from his post for his alleged connection to a growing gas scandal involving several police officers, including Alvarenga's son, reported ABC Color. The following day, Interior Minister Francisco de Vargas announced that both Alvarenga and the administrative director of the national police, Carlos Jara, had been charged with "breach of trust". 

Six police officers have been implicated in the scandal for allegedly withdrawing around $230,000 from gasoline cards that were intended to refuel police vehicles, according to ABC Color. The officers reportedly purchased flashy cars and expensive houses with the money. Alvarenga's own ties to the scandal are tenuous -- the indictment faults him for negligent conduct for failing to actively prevent the scam -- but his son, Francisco Alvarenga Rotela, has been charged with illicit enrichment for allegedly aiding the supposed leader of the corruption network.

At a press conference announcing the charges, Vargas stated that the legal proceedings amount to "one of the few times a sitting commander has been charged with a crime."

InSight Crime Analysis

Police corruption is a major problem in Paraguay, which is ranked by Transparency International as the third most corrupt country in the Americas, after Venezuela and Haiti. There have been numerous cases of police corruption in recent years, especially in the provinces that border Brazil, which are home to marijuana producing areas. In one recent case, an investigation implicated a network of police in Paraguay's Canindeyu province who reportedly accepted bribes from drug traffickers, and passed money along to their superiors.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Paraguay

The police are far from the only government agency affected by corruption in Paraguay. In October 2014, the murder of a journalist who was reporting on the country's drug trade also exposed ties between politicians and drug traffickers. Shortly afterwards, the head of Paraguay's anti-drug agency expressed concern about drug traffickers purchasing protection from politicians, military, and judicial officials.  

While few of the politicians exposed by the narco-politics scandal appear to have faced legal action, the recent charges against high level police officials are a welcome change from the country's normally high levels of impunity. However, shuffling the top leadership is unlikely to curb misconduct in an agency in which corruption appears to be endemic. 

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 / 22 FEB 2019

A judge lowered the sentence of a convicted Guatemalan drug trafficker in a US court on February 22, just weeks…

PARAGUAY / 19 SEP 2014

Authorities in Paraguay have seized more than 30 tons of marijuana in two separate operations near the border with Brazil,…

EL SALVADOR / 27 JUL 2018

On July 26, the US House and Senate approved a bill that will require the Secretary of State to share…

About InSight Crime

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…

THE ORGANIZATION

Coverage of Fallen Paraguay Prosecutor Makes Headlines

20 MAY 2022

The murder of leading anti-crime prosecutor, Marcelo Pecci, while on honeymoon in Colombia, has drawn attention to the evolution of organized crime in Paraguay. While 17 people have been arrested…