Brazil: Police Seizes More than 24 Tons of Marijuana from Paraguay
By Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo October 01, 2021
On September 3, 2021, agents of the Brazilian Federal Police (PF, in Portuguese) and Federal Highway Police (PRF, in Portuguese) seized 24.5 tons of marijuana on a highway in Santa Catarina. It was the largest marijuana seizure ever recorded in this Brazilian state, according to local authorities.
“The drug was transported in a semi-trailer truck, hidden inside a load of corn,” the PF said in a statement. The operation, which had the support of the Santa Catarina Military Police (PM, in Portuguese), was carried out on BR-101 highway in Biguaçu, in greater Florianópolis.
“The exchange of information between the PF and PRF enabled the identification and location of the suspicious vehicle, driven by a 46-year-old man who was then arrested,” the PF said. The driver was taken to PF headquarters in Florianópolis and will be charged with drug trafficking, facing a sentence of five to 15 years in prison, according to the PF.
“The narcotics were packed in bundles and mixed with corn kernels. It took five hours to separate and weigh the drug,” reported the Brazilian website G1. The truck departed from the city of Ponta Porã, in Mato Grosso do Sul state, next to Pedro Juan Caballero, Paraguay. Its destination was the municipality of Palhoça, in Santa Catarina, according to the Brazilian website Campo Grande News.
“This was the second major marijuana seizure this year in Santa Catarina. The first operation, on June 30, involving the PRF, the PF, and the PM, found 24.2 tons of the drug hidden in a load of soybeans on BR 282 [highway],” said the PRF. The marijuana was in a truck driving near the municipality of Rancho Queimado. The vehicle had also left Mato Grosso do Sul, bound for the municipality of Palhoça.
“The packages were marked with different images, indicating that they belong to different criminal groups or to predefined delivery sites,” informed the PRF.
700 kilograms of marijuana
On September 2, the PRF seized a vehicle with another shipment of marijuana from Paraguay. With two men inside, the car drove along BR-060 highway when it was approached by agents. “As the agents got close to the vehicle, they spotted the drug packages. They found and seized a total of 699 kg of marijuana in the trunk and inside the car,” the PRF indicated.
“Both men were arrested. The seized vehicle was loaded with the illegal cargo in Paraguay, in a location near Ponta Porã, and was heading to the state of São Paulo,” added the PRF. “The driver said he would have received close to $3,500 and the passenger close to $950, for the illegal service.”
1 ton of marijuana
On September 8, Paraguayan authorities detected a marijuana shipment before it was sent to Brazil. Agents from the Paraguayan National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD, in Spanish) found 1,072 kg of the drug in the municipality of Cerro Corá, near Pedro Juan Caballero.
“The cargo of pressed marijuana was hidden in underground pits near a banana plantation,” reported the Paraguayan newspaper Hoy. In a video released by SENAD, agents show the packages buried in six large holes on a rural property located in Colônia Maria Auxiliadora.