Messer, the notoriously prolific money launderer, was able to move millions of dollars through Brazil’s emerald mining industry, adding yet another scheme to his laundry list of illicit financial dealings.
Recent punitive action taken by the United States against Paraguayan officials has reinforced how far corruption underpins the South American nation’s thriving trade in drugs.
Criminal dynamics in Brazil, particularly its drug trafficking routes, have been shaken up in recent years by the rapid expansion of the PCC.
Paraguay has long been a key link in South America's drug trafficking chain, but has grown in importance with the emergence of new criminal players and economies.
In a Paraguay border state, drug traffickers and dirty politicians find common ground, and political fights spill into the underworld.