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

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

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 22 FEB 2019

A Florida gun shop owner was recently convicted for trafficking firearms to Haiti with the help of a senator and…

ELITES AND CRIME / 24 MAR 2016

Two recent reports on Guatemala's CICIG illustrate the international's body's potential to affect powerful shifts in the status quo, as…

ELITES AND CRIME / 16 AUG 2018

Juan Carlos Monzón was in South Korea when his boss, Guatemala’s Vice President Roxana Baldetti, received the call that would…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Oceans Pillaged in Central America and the Caribbean

5 AUG 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the first installment of a nine-part investigation uncovering the hidden depths of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in Latin America. The first installment covered Central America and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela’s Tren de Aragua Becomes Truly Transnational

29 JUL 2022

This week, InSight Crime published a deep dive into the total control that Venezuelan mega-gang, Tren de Aragua, has over the lives of those it smuggles between Venezuela and Chile…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkish Traffickers Delivering Latin American Cocaine to Persian Gulf

15 JUL 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the second half of an investigation piecing together the emerging role of Turkish cocaine traffickers in supplying Russia and the Persian Gulf, which are among…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkey as a Lynchpin in European Cocaine Pipeline

8 JUL 2022

InSight Crime is extending its investigation into the cocaine pipeline to Europe, and tracking the growing connections between Latin American drug traffickers and European criminal organizations. This led us to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Memo Fantasma Coverage Gets Worldwide Attention

1 JUL 2022

Guillermo Acevedo, the former Colombian drug lord and paramilitary commander better known as Memo Fantasma, may soon be allowed to leave prison. Since first revealing the identity of Memo Fantasma…