Brazilian police have broken up a drug trafficking ring that moved cocaine from Bolivia to Brazil, disrupting supply in one of the region's main trafficking routes, which is often controlled by Brazilian prison gangs.
Close to 200 Federal Police agents were deployed to execute 52 arrest warrants, bringing to a conclusion a year-long investigation, reported EFE. According to the most recent reports, 38 of the wanted people have so far been arrested.
The alleged traffickers were based in the cities of Pontes and Lacerda in Mato Grosso, a central Brazilian state that borders Bolivia. From there, the gang moved the drugs on to the Amazonian states of Para, Tocantins and Maranhao, according to police.
Over the course of the investigation, police made 10 seizures, totaling approximately 560 kilos of cocaine, and arrested 13 people working as drug mules.
InSight Crime Analysis
Most Bolivian cocaine is trafficked out of the country via Brazil or Argentina, where it is either sold on those countries' sizable domestic markets or moved on to Europe.
Trafficking routes to Brazil are often controlled by Brazilian organized crime groups such as the prison gang First Capital Command (PCC), which is believed to maintain a significant presence in Bolivia.
However, InSight Crime's recent field investigation in Peru uncovered evidence that Bolivian criminal groups may be more involved in international trafficking than is commonly thought, as Bolivian organizations fly Peruvian coca base into Bolivia, where it is processed into powder cocaine and sold on to Brazilian traffickers. According to Brazilian government estimates, 38 percent of cocaine circulating in the country originates in Peru.