An uncle of Paraguay's President Horacio Cartes has been imprisoned for drug trafficking in Uruguay, while his son was detained in the US, further fuelling the allegations of criminal behavior of the presidential family.
Juan Domingo Viveros Cartes was jailed in Uruguay for the "crime of illicitly trafficking drugs in the form of importation and transport," according to an official statement, reported AFP.
Viveros Cartes was detained at the end of July after piloting a light aircraft which entered Uruguay illegally and was forced to land by security forces in Durazno. He gave a false name and said he had gotten lost on his way to Brazil, reported Uruguayan newspaper El Pais.
The plane did not contain drugs but had been modified with special compartments to hold fuel and cargo, according to ABC. Some time earlier, it had landed in the southeastern department of Lavelleja, where it had unloaded 450 kilos of marijuana, reported El Pais. It is believed that Viveros Cartes was a senior member of a network that trafficked drugs between Uruguay and Paraguay, reported ABC.
Meanwhile, the son of President Horacio Cartes was arrested in Miami over the weekend on assault charges, reported BBC Mundo. Juan Pablo Cartes was released after bail charges of $1,500 were paid.
InSight Crime Analysis
Viveros Cartes has a long history of criminal links. He worked for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as an informant during the 1980s and 1990s, giving information that led to several major drug busts. Later he apparently returned to direct involvement in criminal activity; in 2001, he was caught flying a plane transporting 250 kilos of cocaine to São Paulo, Brazil, and was sentenced to 17 years in a Brazilian jail. He was returned to Paraguay after six years to serve his sentence under house arrest, and again began piloting drug planes, reported ABC. A pilot nephew of his -- a cousin of President Cartes -- was also detained with cocaine in May 2011.
The allegations add fuel to the fire regarding the shady connections and activities of Paraguay's President Cartes, a business magnate with extensive allegations of involvement in drug trafficking, money laundering and contraband smuggling. Although he has dismissed charges against him as "absurd" and pledged to tackle crime and corruption, the criminal activities of his family members cast further doubt on his credibility.