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 / 3 OCT 2022

Colombian rebels had long been welcome in Venezuela but now, they have arrived in force, bringing conflict with them.

FENTANYL / 13 JUL 2022

Paraguayan authorities have dismantled a network of pharmacies that illegally sold morphine and fentanyl.

EL SALVADOR / 30 DEC 2021

The United States, under the Biden administration, was supposed to help curb corruption, but for corrupt officials in Central America,…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…