HomeNewsBriefUruguay Ups Protection to Threatened Organized Crime Prosecutors
BRIEF

Uruguay Ups Protection to Threatened Organized Crime Prosecutors

URUGUAY / 29 JUL 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Prosecutors and judges investigating organized crime in Uruguay have been assigned special police protection after receiving threats, an indication of growing security concerns in one of South America's safest nations.

Teams of bodyguards made up of members of the police force's Antinarcotics Brigade and other security bodies will protect two current and two former organized crime judges, two organized crime prosecutors, and the former president of the National Drug Board. Protection measures include armored cars, residential watchmen and travel security, reported El Observador

The protection measures are a boost to security support that the Interior Ministry has provided to judicial officials since 2009. Police Chief Julio Guarteche recently said police had found that foreign drug traffickers held in Uruguayan jails had the capacity to conduct attacks against judges.

According to Guarteche, threats against judges have not yet reached the most serious of three levels into which they are classified.

InSight Crime Analysis

Uruguay is considered one of the safest and least corrupt countries in Latin America. The country has a homicide rate of about 6 per 100,000 residents and is tied at first in the region and 20th in the world with Chile in Transparency International's 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index. Despite this, surveys show a high level of perceived citizen insecurity, particularly in the capital, thought to be connected to a rise in crime that has accompanied a growing cocaine paste consumer market over the past decade.

SEE ALSO: Uruguay: Marijuana, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Heightened security measures for judges are a further indicator that organized crime is increasingly seen as a threat. The country is home to street gangs and has arrested a small number of homegrown drug traffickers over the years, but it appears to be the threat of transnational organized crime that is behind the increase in security. 

According to the US State Department, foreign drug traffickers attracted by Uruguay's borders with Brazil and Argentina -- both departure points for drugs shipped to Europe and South America's two biggest consumer markets -- use the country as a transit point and logisitcal centers. Cocaine paste can also be acquired cheaply in Uruguay, from where it is often smuggled into Brazil.

Pending marijuana legislation aims to cut profits of criminal gangs through legalizing Uruguay's biggest drug consumption market, but is unlikely to effect the threat posed by transnational criminals.

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.

Tags

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

ARGENTINA / 4 FEB 2013

At least 50 Chinese people have been smuggled through Uruguay in the last two years, perhaps signalling the country's…

DRUG POLICY / 19 JUL 2012

A survey shows that 60 percent of Uruguayans are against the government’s proposal to legalize the sale of marijuana, with…

PRISONS / 1 JUL 2019

The high-profile prison break of Italian mafia boss Rocco Morabito from prison in Montevideo has further called into doubt Uruguay's…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…