Agents from Brazil’s Federal Police (PF) and Federal Highway Police (PRF) seized nearly 18 tons of marijuana in Santa Catarina state in mid-September. Authorities found the 17,900 kilograms of drugs in a truck carrying food on the BR-101 Highway in Greater Florianópolis.
This was the largest amount of marijuana seized this year in Santa Catarina and one of the largest in the country’s history, Brazilian news site G1 reported.
“The marijuana was hidden in bales among a load of bulk corn,” the PF Communications Office in Santa Catarina told Diálogo. The vehicle was taken to a food company in the municipality of São José, where the marijuana was separated from the load of corn, “in a task that went into the early morning hours” due to the size of the load, the PF indicated, adding that two vehicles, a truck loaded with the drugs and a second car that escorted it, were apprehended.
According to Adriano Fiamoncini, head of PRF Communication, the operation demanded intense cooperation between agents of both police forces. “There were months of work, investigation, and information exchange between the PRF and the PF. Fortunately, we were able to identify and locate this semi-trailer,” said Fiamoncini, in an interview with Brazilian television network TV Record. After monitoring both vehicles, agents intercepted them on BR-101 in the municipality of Biguaçu and arrested their occupants.
According to the PRF, the truck driver is a 40-year-old native of Paraná. “He said he did not know the final destination of this drug. He said he would be getting a call that would give further instructions,” Fiamoncini said. “But he said that he left from Mato Grosso do Sul. So, this is drug from Paraguay that entered through Mato Grosso do Sul. And we don’t know if it was going to stay in Santa Catarina or go to Rio Grande do Sul.”
Authorities transported the four persons captured — two drivers and two passengers — to the PF headquarters in Florianópolis where they will be charged for drug trafficking and association to trafficking, whose combined sentences may reach 25 years in prison, the PF said.
The PRF and the PF did not give further details about the criminal organization, nor could they provide additional information about the criminal group so as not to harm investigations, “which are still ongoing,” the PF told Diálogo.
“The Federal Highway Police and the Federal Police emphasize the importance of integration and cooperation between the police forces in the fight against narcotrafficking,” the PRF said in a statement according to Ilha Digital news platform. “Each agency gave its best, resulting in a financial loss to organized crime estimated at $7.5 million, taking into account the value of the drug and truck,” the PRF said.