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Brazil: Police Dismantle Criminal Groups at Border with French Guiana

Brazil: Police Dismantle Criminal Groups at Border with French Guiana

By Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo
April 09, 2021

The Brazilian Federal Police (PF, in Portuguese) dismantled two criminal organizations that were trafficking humans, arms, and cocaine at the French Guiana border.

The activities were carried out as part of Operation Quinine (Operação Quinino), in the municipalities of Oiapoque and Macapá, in the state of Amapá.

“[The operation] aims to repress many illegal transnational practices in the region: promoting illegal migration, international arms and drug trafficking, smuggling, and embezzlement,” said the PF in a statement.

In addition to the arrests, agents seized a satellite phone, mobile phones, USB flash drives, and cash from one of the criminal groups. (Photo: Brazilian Federal Police)

During the first phase of the operation, on February 11, 2021, 30 agents executed eight search and seizure warrants and three arrest warrants against one of the criminal groups.

The organization smuggled migrants via boat, from Amapá to French Guiana, where they worked in illegal mining. The criminals would do an average of three weekly trips with some 20 passengers each time, charging more than $260 per person, the PF stated.

According to the local newspaper Diário do Amapá, the migrants would wait a few days until boats were at capacity to be able to travel.

Another criminal group was the target of the operation’s second phase, launched on March 3. On that day, 10 police officers executed three search warrants and arrested one man with illegal ammunition. They also located five people waiting to migrate to illegal mines in French Guiana and Suriname.

“The investigations began in 2018, following the seizure of arms and drugs in the region of Oiapoque, which were brought by individuals attempting to enter Brazil traveling by sea and rivers,” said the PF.

The illegal route connected Suriname, French Guiana, and Brazil. “This path was used to carry out several transnational crimes, such as international arms, drug, and human trafficking,” said the PF.

The suspects were charged with narcotrafficking, criminal networking, and conspiracy. “The penalty for all those crimes together can reach 37 years in prison,” reported the news portal Correio Amapaense.