HomeNewsBriefWidespread Police Bribery Network in Paraguay Marijuana Hub
BRIEF

Widespread Police Bribery Network in Paraguay Marijuana Hub

ELITES AND CRIME / 6 JAN 2015 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

An investigation in Paraguay has exposed widespread, systematic police corruption in a major marijuana-growing region on the border with Brazil, highlighting the institutionalized corruption that facilitates drug trafficking in South America’s largest producer of marijuana.

According to a probe into police corruption viewed by ABC Color, police officers in Paraguay’s Canindeyu province regularly accept bribes from drug traffickers, and are expected to pay monthly quotas to their superiors, including “political authorities” in the province, in order to remain at their posts. ABC Color did not report on whether this probe was an internal police investigation or an inquiry by some other government institution.

According to the newspaper, the amounts police must pay to their superiors vary depending on the location of the police unit in relation to profitable drug trafficking routes, ranging from around $84 a month in the center of the province to $1,267 on the border with Brazil (see ABC Color’s map of police stations in Canindeyu — and what bribes they pay to their superiors — below).

2015.01.06.paraguaybribemap

Senator Luis Alberto Wagner, who serves on the congressional commission created to investigate the recent assassination of a journalist covering the drug trade, told a radio station that Canindeyu’s corrupt police are protected by the judiciary and politicians — specifically, Congresswoman Maria Cristina Villalba, who represents the province in the lower house of Congress, and her brother Carlos.

Three days after ABC Color first reported on this network of corruption, the Canindeyu province police chief ordered at least ten personnel changes in key police posts.

InSight Crime Analysis

The bribery network exposed by ABC Color highlights the type of institutionalized corruption that has facilitated drug trafficking in Paraguay and allowed criminal organizations to act with impunity.

The assassination of journalist Pablo Medina, which took place in Canindeyu province and was allegedly ordered by a local mayor because of Medina’s reporting on drug trafficking, has led to increased scrutiny on alleged ties between officials and criminal groups. Since Medina’s death, both Paraguay’s Senate and the head of the country’s anti-drug body (SENAD) have voiced concerns about official corruption.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Paraguay

In addition to Congresswoman Villalba, who is accused of running a network that protects drug traffickers and assassins, three congressmen have recently been linked to Brazilian drug trafficking groups, while one congressional alternate has been identified as the alleged right-hand man of Brazilian drug trafficker Luiz Carlos da Rocha, alias “Cabeça Branca.”

The corruption appears to stretch far beyond Paraguay’s Congress. In 2013, judges in Paraguay’s Triple Frontier region were accused of giving drug traffickers lenient sentences, while last year, several high-level police officials were accused of selling seized drugs and weapons

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

CIACS / 7 SEP 2015

(Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Presidential Candidate Sandra Torres was a member of the…

ELITES AND CRIME / 15 JAN 2016

A former drug kingpin has disparaged the frontrunner in Peru’s forthcoming presidential election for her familial ties to ex-President Alberto Fujimori,…

ELITES AND CRIME / 17 JUL 2020

A list of assets belonging to officials in Paraguay has drawn attention to the wealth of a handful of high-profile…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…