HomeNewsBriefPolitician's Arrest Puts Paraguay's Justice System on Trial
BRIEF

Politician's Arrest Puts Paraguay's Justice System on Trial

ELITES AND CRIME / 26 MAY 2015 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

The arrest of a Paraguay politician in connection with a money laundering investigation has raised hopes the country is working towards reducing rampant impunity by holding powerful figures accountable.

On May 22, agents from Paraguay's anti-drug agency (SENAD) arrested Carlos Ruben Sanchez, alias "Chicharõ," a congressional alternate under investigation for money laundering, reported ABC Color.

Chicharõ, who was taken into custody near a shopping center in Asuncion, serves as a Colorado Party congressional alternate for the border province of Amambay. At the time of his arrest, he was in the company of Congressman Marcial Lezcano.  

According to EFE, SENAD has audio evidence linking Chicharõ and Lezcano -- along with several other politicians -- to drug trafficking.

Chicharõ is currently being held in preventative detention along with his brother Ardonio Sanchez, who is also allegedly involved in money laundering, while investigations are underway.

InSight Crime Analysis

Chicharõ's arrest, and recently opened investigations into his financial dealings, are the latest in a series of brushes with the law.

In 2010, Chicharõ was convicted of drug trafficking and money laundering in Brazil, and sentenced to four years in prison. However, he fled to Paraguay in 2011, where he successfully ran for office, and was arrested in 2013. After serving a short stint in a Paraguayan prison, Chicharõ was released in September 2014.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Elites and Organized Crime

In July 2014, a drug plane linked to Chicharõ crash landed on a road, killing two women and a child. However, investigations into the case have moved slowly, producing few results.

15-03-25-paraguay-planecrash

The drug plane linked to Chicharõ that crashed and killed three people in 2014

Previous investigations have also suggested that Chicharõ works for Luiz Carlos Da Rocha, alias "Cabeça Branca," a Brazilian drug trafficker. Indeed, Chicharõ appears to be part of a new drug trafficking dynamic in Latin America's Southern Cone region, in which criminal groups are increasingly focused on supplying domestic drug markets rather than moving cocaine to the United States.

However, Paraguay -- which has been at the heart of this shift in drug trafficking trends -- suffers from rampant impunity and corruption, and in the past its justice system has demonstrated an inability to hold drug traffickers accountable.

While Chicharõ's arrest is a step in the right direction, the true test is whether Paraguayan authorities can complete the investigation and give him a fair and transparent trial free from external influences.

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

COLOMBIA / 14 DEC 2021

Prosecutors in Colombia have dismissed a criminal libel case filed by accused paramilitary drug lord Guillermo León Acevedo Giraldo, alias…

COCAINE / 7 JUL 2022

When brothers Seth and Roberto Paisano Wood were released from prison and returned to their hometown of Brus Laguna, in…

COCAINE / 7 APR 2022

Following an accelerating trend in the region, self-described anti-establishment candidate, Rodrigo Chaves, won Costa Rica's runoff presidential election with nearly…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…