HomeParaguayÑeembucú, Paraguay
PARAGUAY

Ñeembucú, Paraguay

COCAINE / 25 FEB 2021 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

Despite boasting one of Paraguay’s lowest murder rates, Ñeembucú is an important transit point for marijuana heading to Argentina.

Seizures and drug trafficking investigations suggest that significant amounts of cannabis are smuggled from Ñeembucú across the Paraná and Paraguay rivers. The department is also considered the main departure point for drug-laden planes leaving for Argentina, and cocaine trafficking may be on the rise.

Criminal Actors

There are no major transnational criminal actors with a significant presence in Ñeembucú.

Criminal Economies

Arms Trafficking: Authorities have made some minor firearms seizures in recent years, but relatively few compared to other departments in Paraguay. There is no evidence to suggest that these seizures are linked to arms trafficking networks. The department of Ñeembucú is a secondary transit point for cocaine and marijuana shipments. Actors involved in these economies likely use firearms to protect their shipments.

Cocaine: Ñeembucú houses hidden runways, where drug planes make a stop-off before heading to Argentina. The cocaine trafficking economy is less significant than that of cannabis. Paraguay authorities have seized minimal amounts of the drug in the department – less than one kilogram of cocaine between 2017 and 2019.

Cannabis: Ñeembucú is a transit point for marijuana grown elsewhere in Paraguay, bound for Argentina. Traffickers often use the Paraná river and its many small islands as clandestine airstrips or for storage. Transnational cannabis traffickers have been arrested in Ñeembucú. In 2019, authorities seized approximately 7.5 tons of cannabis. Some reports estimate that nine to 15 tons of marijuana are trafficked through the department each month – an average of 144 tons per year. Others place that figure at 15 tons per week – equating to around 780 tons a year. One estimate says that five tons of marijuana are trafficked between Ñeembucú and Argentina every day – approximately 1,825 tons a year. Police officers in the department purportedly take bribes from traffickers moving cannabis into Argentina, ranging from $1,000 and $5,000 for large shipments. In all, this appears to be a huge criminal economy for the department.

Contraband: Fuel and cigarette smuggling are the main types of contraband in Ñeembucú. Contraband networks acquire diesel from ships transporting merchandise from Argentina. Fuel smuggling is an important and beneficial part of the local economy.

Money Laundering: Shops, vehicle sales, animal purchases, and luxury hotels are used to launder illicit funds in the department. The local economy flourishes during marijuana harvesting seasons, due to an increase in transactions.

Sources: This profile is based on a field investigation in Pilar, Ñeembucú, and four trips to Asunción where InSight Crime interviewed political leaders, Interior Ministry officials, the Attorney General’s Office, the National Anti-Corruption Secretariat (Secretaría Nacional Anticorrupción – SENAC), the National Anti-Drug Secretariat (Secretaría Nacional Antidrogas – SENAD), the Secretariat for the Prevention of Money or Assest Laundering (Secretaría de Prevención de Lavado de Dinero o Bienes – SEPRELAD), Paraguay’s anti-human trafficking unit, prison officials, the National Directorate of Civil Aviation (Dirección Nacional de Aeronautica Civil – DINAC), national police, judicial officials, the governor’s office, local prosecutors, and local journalists, most of whom requested anonymity. InSight Crime also drew from information provided by Paraguay’s Interior Ministry, the General Directory of Statistics, Surveys and Censuses, and local press.

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

DRUG POLICY / 16 MAR 2020

Paraguay issued its first-ever medical cannabis licenses this February, marking a major shift for the marijuana-producing country while…

COCAINE / 4 DEC 2019

A Venezuelan island in the Caribbean that is a popular tourist destination was used by a Colombian trafficker to move…

GEOGRAPHIC PROFILES / 15 MAR 2021

Misiones is the main entry point for marijuana smuggled from Paraguay into Argentina across the Paraná River and one of…

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…