Brazil, Peru, and Colombia Join Forces to Fight Crime on Border Rivers

Brazil, Peru, and Colombia Join Forces to Fight Crime on Border Rivers

By Andréa Barretto/Diálogo
July 27, 2016

Brazil, Colombia, and Peru have agreed to join forces to
combat unlawful activities through the Memorandum of Understanding to Combat
Unlawful Activities on Border or Shared Rivers, signed by the three countries
in 2008 and promulgated by Brazil in March of 2016. "Operations are conducted individually (by each of the
Armed Forces on its own), jointly (with the other Brazilian Armed Forces), or
combined (with the other border countries, including Colombia and Peru),"
explained Rear Admiral Flávio Augusto Viana Rocha, director of the Center of
Social Communications for the Brazilian Navy. "One of the farthest-reaching operations conducted
periodically is the so-called Operation Ágata, coordinated by the Joint Staff
of the Armed Forces (reporting to the Ministry of Defense), in which the Navy,
the Army, and the Air Force act jointly with multiple agencies like the Federal
Police Department and the Federal Revenue Service," Rear Admiral Viana
added. The latest iteration of Ágata took place June 13th to 22nd and covered the full length of Brazil's border – nearly
17,000 kilometers, including the 9,523 kilometers of borders formed by rivers,
lakes, and canals. During the 11 days of the operation, 720 inspections were
done on vessels. Navy conducts daily prevention and enforcement actions The 9th Naval District Command, headquartered in Manaus in
the state of Amazonas, is the Brazilian Navy unit responsible for Brazil's
border rivers as well as those shared with Colombia and Peru. Its coverage area
also includes the states of Acre, Rondônia, and Roraima. There are 768 service personnel involved every day in
preventive and penal activities aimed at monitoring the enforcement of laws and
at fighting crime on river borders, which are coordinated by the 9th Naval District
Command, according to Rear Adm. Vianna. Five patrol ships are used during these activities, along
with speedboats from the port authorities, police stations, and agencies
distributed throughout the military unit's jurisdiction, which extends throughout
a 26,000-kilometer waterway network. The Army employs 6,340 personnel on the borders with Peru
and Colombia The Army has already deployed around 6,340 service personnel in the border regions with Peru and Colombia who are subordinate to the military organizations of the 2nd, 16th, and 17th Jungle Infantry Brigades. "The Brazil-Peru-Colombia border has 19 Special Border
Platoons that stop vessels every day, seeking to combat transborder
crimes," the Amazon Military Command (CMA, for its Portuguese acronym)
explained through its communications office. "These platoons also do at least one border
reconnaissance operation in their areas of responsibility along the border
rivers, citing anyone who commits a crime," the CMA added. Less lethal weapons and munitions are employed during these
actions, in addition to standard-issue weapons and munitions (pistols and light
automatic rifles), as well as Army vessels and helicopters. The Federal Police keep watch on the Solimões River The Federal Police is the main agency tasked with combating narcotrafficking in Brazil. In September 2015, the agency reopened the Anozl Base on the triple border with Colombia and Peru, a set of two floating check points set up on the banks of the Solimões River. "Since waterways are the primary method of transport in
the region, nearly all the illicit drugs produced in Peru and Colombia are
transported along the Solimões River," stated Alexandre Silveira de
Oliveira, Regional Executive Officer of the Federal Police Administration in Amazonas,
in a report published by Diálogo on November 23, 2015, concerning the Anzol
Base. Federal agents work at one of the floating check points,
inspecting boats and passengers, while Army solders remain on alert on the
other, ready to intercept any vessel that threatens to flee the scene. In addition to this ongoing action, the Federal Police also
participates in operations with the Armed Forces, such as Operation Ágata. Example of operations among the three countries The most comprehensive operation ever done by joint forces
from Brazil, Peru, and Colombia was Operation Traira, which ran April 4-8, 2016. Traira covered a total area of 1,426 kilometers, equal in
size to the state of São Paulo.
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