HomeNewsBriefParaguay, Brazil Joint Operation Nets 67 Metric Tons of Marijuana
BRIEF

Paraguay, Brazil Joint Operation Nets 67 Metric Tons of Marijuana

PARAGUAY / 26 JUL 2016 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

Paraguay and Brazil authorities say they destroyed nearly 67 metric tons of marijuana in a joint operation, but the figure pales in comparison to Paraguay’s estimated pot production.

Authorities of the neighboring countries found and destroyed 57.8 metric tons of loose marijuana and a further 9.1 metric tons of pressed marijuana over 12 days of aerial and ground operations, Paraguay’s Anti-Narcotics Secretariat (Secretaría Nacional Antidrogas – SENAD) reported.

Operation “New Alliance XIII” — which was based in the Paraguayan border district of Pedro Juan Caballero, the capital of Amambay department also resulted in the eradication of 162 hectares of the illegal crop, equivalent to taking 486 metric tons of marijuana out of circulation. A further 350 kilograms of marijuana seed and 103 camps for processing and storage of the plants were destroyed, according to EFE.

In total, the operation reportedly suppressed the circulation of over 553 metric tons of marijuana, equivalent to a loss of around $16.6 million for drug traffickers.

The operation was part of an ongoing collaboration between the SENAD and Brazil’s Federal Police based on the two nations’ shared responsibility for eliminating marijuana production and trafficking. Paraguay is South America’s biggest marijuana producer, and Brazil is its biggest consumer market, EFE reported.

Since August 2013, seven “New Alliance” operations have been carried out resulting in the eradication of 2,269 hectares of cannabis — equivalent to an estimated 6,807 metric tons of the drug — while another 270.4 metric tons of marijuana have been destroyed. This is estimated to have inflicted a total loss of $212.3 million on the illegal business.

AllianceV3Final

InSight Crime Analysis

A big bust like this may sound impressive, but in reality Paraguay still has a long way to go to improve its weak law enforcement efforts, which have to be periodically propped up by international operations with Brazil and the United States.

InSight Crime investigations from 2014 led to estimates that the South American country may be producing up to 40,000 tons of marijuana per year — suggesting this recent seizure barely makes a dent in Paraguay’s overall drug trade.

A further challenge for Paraguayan authorities is the country’s strategic geographical position, which makes it a key transit point for Bolivian and Peruvian cocaine heading into Brazil. Pedro Juan Caballero in particular is thought to be at the heart of this coveted drug route. Brazilian drug gangs including the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital – PCC) and the Red Command (Comando Vermelho – CV) have a strong presence there, and in recent years the city has seen spasms of fatal violence linked to organized crime.

SEE ALSO:  Coverage of Paraguay

Most recently, a renowned drug trafficker was killed in a June 15 ambush on a street in Pedro Juan Caballero by attackers armed with a .50 caliber machine gun.

Other border towns, including Ciudad del Este and Salto del Guairá, are also important transit points for drugs and weapons, according to the US State Department.

However, changes may be in store for Paraguay’s anti-drug body. This operation comes at the start of a new administration within SENAD, whose former director Luis Rojas resigned following a botched operation in which his agents fired on a vehicle, killing a three-year-old girl.

Retired Col. Hugo David Vera Quintana was named minister of the secretariat in late June, and has highlighted the need for local development as well as international cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking.

One of Rojas’ attributes was that he was successful at keeping the media spotlight on Paraguay’s struggle against organized crime and the corruption that facilitates it, even within his own institution. His strong stance on these issues probably account for some of the harsh criticism Rojas came under after the botched operation. Keeping these issues front and center will be one of Vera’s big challenges.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Tags

Related Content

EPP / 23 SEP 2011

Following a deadly attack by Paraguay's elusive guerrilla group the EPP, the government may deploy further police reinforcements in the…

BOLIVIA / 11 AUG 2011

The Rosales, perhaps Bolivia's version of Mexico's Arellano Felix family, a closeknit group of siblings allegedly involved in drug trafficking,…

BRAZIL / 22 MAY 2013

A joint operation between Brazilian and Paraguayan police has captured five alleged members of Brazil's feared Red Command (Comando Vermelho),…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…