In a review of Brazil’s expensive border security plan, now four months old, President Dilma Rousseff highlighted drug seizure and arrest statistics.
Brazilian forces have seized 62 tons of narcotics and made 3,000 arrests since the president approved the border security plan in July, according to MercoPress news agency. Over 650 tons of weapons and explosives have also been seized, President Rousseff added.
Brazil’s “Strategic Border Plan” is meant to crack down on drug trafficking and other contraband running along the country’s 17,000 kilometer frontier. Rousseff has said improving control of Brazil’s borders is her government’s number one security priority, and granted the Border Plan a $6.3 billion budget for the next eight years.
During that time, Brazil is supposed to double the number of patrol agents stationed along the frontiers and deploy an additional 5,000 troops to select border towns. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, there are currently fewer than 1,000 police protecting the 11,000 kilometer border shared with Peru, Colombia and Bolivia, the region’s top cocaine producers.
All branches of the Brazilian security forces, including the police, army, navy and air force, are meant to increase operations along the border region. This includes more aerial and satellite surveillance along areas identified as contraband hotspots, especially on the frontier with Paraguay.
A previous security initiative, “Operation Sentinel,” which started in March and ended in August, saw the arrest of over 1,600 people in three border states. That operation, which emphasized police and intelligence work, is supposed to continue and expand under Rousseff’s “Border Plan” decree.